In today’s healthcare sector, the growing number of elective and non-elective surgeries has drastically increased the demand for surgical technologists.
Because of this, the surgical technician is becoming an attractive career option for those who are seeking a long-term, secure and well-compensated job in the healthcare industry.
Surgical Technicians: Duties and Available Career Paths
Surgical techs assist surgeons, nurses and other operating room personnel in effectively caring for patients before, during and after the surgical procedure. In addition to working directly with the surgical team, they also assist in preparing the patient for surgery. The most common duties of the surgical tech include the following:
- Transporting the patient to the operating room and preparing them for the surgical procedure. This includes preparing incision sites and positioning the patient in order to improve access for the surgeon.
- Before the surgery, the surgical technician prepares the tools and materials for use by the surgeon.
- The surgical tech is also responsible for ensuring that all tools, dressings and other materials are sterile. This is extremely important, given the potential danger a postoperative infection can pose to the patient.
- During the surgical procedure, the technician will pass tools to the surgeon, as well as keep track of what tools and items have been used, in order to ensure that nothing is left in the patient at the conclusion of the surgical procedure.
- Finally, at the end of the surgery, the technician will assist in returning the patient to his or her room, as well as preparing the operating room for later procedures by replacing all expended materials and cleaning the room.
Surgical Tech Career Paths
While most surgical techs currently work in the hospital setting, there are a number of specialized practices that provide alternate areas of employment. They include elective surgical clinics, urgent care clinics and individual practices.
Elective surgical procedures, especially for cosmetic or weight control purposes, have become very popular in the United States. Most procedures are scheduled in advance and overtime hours are rare for the surgical technicians in this field. Additionally, these clinics usually focus on a small number of procedures, rather than the wide variety found at a hospital.
Urgent care clinics and individual doctor’s offices often make use of surgical technicians during minor surgical procedures. These operations are usually simple procedures and often are conducted on an outpatient basis. In many cases, the surgical technician will be working directly with the physician on an individual basis, rather than serving as part of a large surgical team.
Becoming a Surgical Tech in Minnesota
Minnesota does not require licensure for a surgical tech, but in order to enjoy the best possible employment opportunities, a student must successfully complete a surgical technology program. Students should ensure that their programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Not only does this ensure the quality of the program, but also many businesses and states will only accept surgical techs that can show that they have graduated from an accredited program.
Most full-time surgical tech programs take approximately two years to complete and combine classroom lessons with instruction in the surgical setting to ensure that graduates have an effective practical grasp of their duties. Some programs offer internships, where a student will work as a surgical technologist under the supervision of his or her instructors.
Part-time and online programs are available for those students who cannot attend on a full-time basis. This allows working students and students with family obligations to complete the program at their own pace.
Becoming a Certified Surgical Tech
After graduating, becoming a certified surgical tech can drastically improve the technician’s career and salary options. Becoming certified means that an independent body will certify that the technician has met their requirements and is highly qualified in his or her career. A major advantage of becoming certified is that it can make it far easier to obtain a license in states where licensure is required.
In most cases, becoming certified requires that the technician have graduated from an accredited program, has taken a competency exam that verifies his or her skills, and in some cases has a certain amount of verified work experience as a surgical tech. Currently, the major bodies that offer certification are the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the National Healthcare Association (NCA). Most businesses and states accept certification from any of these three organizations.
Becoming a surgical tech is an excellent path to a highly regarded and well-compensated career in Minnesota. Whether as the first job after high school, or as a new career for an older individual, becoming a surgical technician is a very wise decision.
Surgical Tech Schools In Minnesota