Surgical technologists and technicians are responsible for the setup, assembly and maintenance of surgical equipment, along with a variety of other tasks to assist surgeons before, during and after surgeries.
While the vast majority of surgical technologists work in hospitals, an increasing number are employed in outpatient care, ambulatory surgical centers and doctors' offices.
What Surgical Technologists Do
Before anesthesiologists, surgeons and other personnel can do their jobs, surgical technologists and technicians have the responsibility of getting the entire operating room (OR) ready for surgery. That includes setting up and sterilizing instruments and equipment, as well as testing said devices to make sure they're in working order.
However, it isn't just surgical tools that technologists and technicians prepare. Other duties include washing, shaving and cleaning the sites where surgery is to take place on the patient's body. Technologists also transport and position the patient on the operating table and monitor patients' vital signs.
The job isn't over when surgery starts. During operations, technologists count supplies and instruments, assist in tasks such as cutting sutures and handing instruments to surgeons or operate lights, machines and diagnostic equipment.
After surgery, technologists and technicians replenish the operating room's supplies and transport the patient out of the OR and into the recovery room.
Education and Training
Surgical technologists normally complete formal certificate or associate's degree programs. Programs can be found at community and junior colleges, hospitals, universities, vocational schools and the military.
A variety of schools offer degrees and programs that will help launch your career as a surgical technologist.
Many employers seek surgical technologists and technicians who own certifications that are earned by passing an exam after completing a training program and/or acquiring on-the-job experience.