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Surgical technologists assist in operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. Before an operation, surgical technologists help set up the operating room with surgical instruments and equipment, sterile linens, and sterile solutions. Technologists may also prepare patients for surgery.
During surgery, technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons. They hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments. Surgical technologists help prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens taken for laboratory analysis and may help apply dressings. Some operate sterilizers, lights, or suction machines, and help operate diagnostic equipment. Technologists may also clean and/or restock the operating room.
Most surgical technologists are employed by hospitals, mainly in operating and delivery rooms. A few, known as private scrubs, are employed directly by surgeons who have special surgical teams like those for liver transplants.
Surgical technologists usually work a regular 40-hour week, although they may be on call or work nights, weekends, and holidays on a rotating basis.
Other workplace settings:
Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
About 9,000 openings for surgical technologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Surgical technologists receive their training in formal programs offered by community and junior colleges, vocational schools, universities, hospitals, and the military.
Education in surgical technology usually lasts from nine to 12 months for a diploma or certificate, and two years for an associate degree. Shorter programs are designed for students who are already licensed practical nurses or military personnel with the appropriate training.
Technologists advance by specializing in a particular area of surgery.
Licensure is not required in the state of Connecticut; however certification is regulated by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. 60 hours of continuing education must be completed every four years.
Association of Surgical Technologists
6 West Dry Creek Circle, Suite 200
Littleton, CO 80120