Surgical Technologists: What they do.

August 11, 2014

So you’re thinking of becoming a Surgical Technologist? Okay, maybe you’re just interested in it. Either way this is the blog for you. Read on to figure out what a surg tech does, what skills they need and the employment possibilities available.

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What does a Surg Tech do?

The surgical technologist plays a huge part in the operating room. They stand directly next to the surgeon during surgery and pass along the needed instruments.  It is their job to maintain a sterile field and respond to the surgeon’s needs.

It is the surgical technologists’ responsibility to be aware of everything going on in the room and to make sure it is maintained. The surgical technologist is also responsible for counting the instruments, needles, blades, scalpels, sponges and other supplies before and after the operation, in cooperation with the circulating nurse.

Skills You Need

Surgical technologists need manual dexterity to handle instruments quickly. They also must be conscientious, orderly, and emotionally stable to handle the demands of the operating room environment. ST’s must respond quickly and know the procedures well enough to have instruments ready for surgeons without having to be told.

Other desired skills include:

  • Physical Strength
  •  Hand/Eye Coordination
  •  Critical Thinking Skills
  •  Concentration
  • Good Interpersonal Relations
  •  Memorization
  • Sequencing

You must attend an accredited surgical technology program and sit for The National board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) national certification exam to become a licensed surgical technologist.

For a full content outline of the CST Exam click here.

Employment Prospects

Demand for surgical technologists is expected to increase much faster than that for other professions, because, well, the US population is aging and older people generally require surgery more often.

According to the US Department of Labor, “employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 30 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. “

Hospitals and out-patient surgery centers will continue to be the major employer, although some surgical technologists work in the offices and clinics of physicians.

Employment options available to the experienced ST include:

  • Specialization in a surgical specialty such as orthopedics,  cardiovascular surgery, or trauma
  • Employment in material management or sterile processing areas
  • Surgical technology educator and/or program director
  • Surgical first assistant
  • Medical services and equipment salesperson
  • Organ and tissue procurement technician
  • Private employment by a surgeon
  • Research and product development assistant
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Endoscopy technician
  • Labor and delivery technician
  • Office manager
  • Surgery scheduler
  • Anesthesia technologist
  • Employment as a traveling ST to fill temporary staffing needs for health care facilities
  • Volunteer opportunities (e.g., Peace Corps)

Sound like something you would love to do? Check out Community Care College!