Being a Surgical Technology extern is both a riveting and stressful experience. For my first rotation, I ended up going to the downtown St. John’s Hospital. As a student so eager to get into surgery, my mind was racing with questions. What case will I do? Am I ready? Do I know enough to get by? I would soon find all of this out on my first case as an extern.
My First Day
As a new extern, the first week is typically the “light week”. This allows the student to adjust to the surroundings of an operating room including the OR crew. For my very first day, I assumed that my first assignment would be a simple general case. I was fully expecting a case with easy set-up and a basic procedure. As I was filling with excitement for my first week, I was told that I was going into a general room. I was expecting to do a Laparoscopic Appendectomy but what came next was a complete surprise.
The Curve Ball
I had mentally prepared for one surgery and then was told that I was doing another. At the last second, my instructor comes in and tells me that I am going to do a total ankle in Orthopedics. My head scrambles to readjust the preparations and prepare myself for a much more intense and invasive surgery. I walk into the new room and there are four back tables with nothing but surgical instruments on them. My mouth hits the floor. The surgical technologist who was supposed to be helping me leaves me to attempt this without him. My immediate thought? I am not prepared for this.
Sparking an Interest
Though this case was not what I expected, I knew I had to get it done. I used my deductive reasoning to try and anticipate what the doctor needed next. The case took roughly 2 hours to finish and when it was over I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I told myself that I would never want to scrub in Orthopedics again! But with more experience under my belt, I actually gravitated towards Orthopedics. Looking back after so many years of scrubbing, I realized that sometimes in order to find what you love doing you’ll have to try new things. Even if something seems scary and foreign, it could end up being just what you were looking for.
Lessons From My Experience
Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
If you never set high goals for yourself, then you can never grow your skills.
Learn from every experience.
Have confidence in your skills and training.
Try your best no matter what the circumstances are.
That case gave me confidence. I soon realized that if I was able to do a total ankle right off the bat, then I am more than capable of being a surgical technologist. Even after this experience, I chose to work in Orthopedics for four and a half years and I absolutely love it! I would not change my experience whatsoever. Being thrown into the fire like that helped me learn that I am capable of handling challenges in the heat of the moment.
Does a career as a surgical technologist sound like something you can handle? Challenge yourself and check out our Surgical Technologist program at CCC here!
From the desk of Colton Ticer, Community Care College Surgical Technologist Instructor