In today’s healthcare sector, finding effective and professional health workers is a vital goal for hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations. Surgical technicians are a vital healthcare specialty, providing assistance to surgeons and other medical personnel.
Without their assistance, elective and non-elective operations would be impossible to carry out.
The Need for Traveling Surgical Technicians
While many institutions have a permanent staff of surgical technicians, in other cases there may not be sufficient demand to justify hiring a full-time surgical technician. This is especially common in low population rural regions, resulting in an irregular demand for the surgical tech’s services. In many of these regions, elective or minor surgical procedures are handled by traveling professionals who make a series of stops in order to provide medical services.
In all of these cases, there is a need for surgical technicians who can travel in order to carry out their duties. In some cases, a surgical tech may have a regular schedule of stops, while in other cases, the schedule may be subject to change. However a traveling surgical technician must be prepared to adapt to unexpected changes, especially should there be difficulties in traveling to the various destinations due to outside factors.
Finally, most traveling surgical technicians must expect to spend a very long time away from home. Many career positions for traveling techs involve repeatedly moving across the entire United States. For this reason, a surgical tech interested in this career should carefully consider any family or other obligations that might make long-term absences difficult for the technician.
The Duties of a Traveling Surgical Tech
Traveling surgical techs are expected to be highly skilled in the field of surgical technology, but they also face unique challenges. A traveling surgical tech, unlike a technician employed at a fixed location, will not have the opportunity to work with a team that he or she has formed a long-term professional relationship with. Because of this, in addition to the other skills demanded by this profession, a traveling surgical tech must be able to flexibly adapt to unusual situations.
Among the common issues a traveling surgical technician must face are the following:
- Having to adapt to unfamiliar policies or procedures with little forewarning.
- Making use of a wide variety of medical tools and supplies, some of which may be unfamiliar to the technician.
- The surgical tech will often work with individuals that he or she has little experience with.
- In many cases, operations may be changed or rescheduled with little advance warning.
- Depending on the surgical tech’s travel schedule, he or she may have to be able to adapt to an irregular sleeping schedule.
In addition, the traveling surgical technician must always present a very professional attitude to patients and fellow medical professionals alike. This is especially important due to the fact that his or her fellow workers will form their impression of the surgical tech based on limited personal contact.
Qualifications for Traveling Surgical Techs
Most traveling surgical technicians are already skilled in their field. In many cases, companies or organizations that hire traveling technicians prefer those with at least a year or more of practical experience, because they will often be working with limited supervision and assistance.
In addition, most surgical technicians intending to enter this field should make certain to graduate from a surgical tech program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which will demonstrate that their program complies with the highest educational standards.
Finally, while not required in most states, many agencies prefer that traveling surgical techs be certified by one of the national organizations that provide such services. These include the following groups:
- The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).
- The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
- The National Healthcare Association (NHA).
Each of these organizations allows surgical techs who comply with rigorous standards of professionalism to identify themselves as certified surgical technicians. This is especially important for traveling surgical techs, and will dramatically improve their salary and career options. In fact, certification of some type will be mandatory for those traveling surgical techs who serve patients in states with a formal process for licensing surgical technicians.
The Benefits of Becoming a Traveling Surgical Technician
The field of surgical technology currently is enjoying robust growth, in addition to a competitive salary. Traveling surgical technicians can often take advantage of this, in addition to generous travel allowances. In addition, many individuals enjoy traveling across the United States, as well as the ability to experience many different situations and settings during while performing the duties of a traveling surgical technician.
Finally, a traveling surgical tech will often have the opportunity to serve communities that are otherwise unable to obtain high quality medical care. By serving in this field, a surgical tech is not only entering a well-paid career, but is performing a vital service for a vast number of rural and urban communities.