Surgical technologists assist surgeons and nurses in the operating room. They prepare the operating room by placing surgical instruments onto tables and stands, adjusting equipment and prepping the patient for surgery. They are responsible for keeping the area sterile by helping the surgeon put on his gloves and gown, passing needed instruments during the procedure and counting supplies to make sure none are left inside the patient. Surgical technologists also assist in operations by cutting sutures, removing tissues and operating special equipment like suction machines.
Surgical technologists are an integral part of the surgical team. They work with surgeons, nurses, surgical assistants, anesthesiologists and other health professionals. Surgical technologists can work anywhere there is an operating room, including hospitals, surgery centers and physician offices. They typically work regular hours, but may be on-call for emergencies. Surgical technologists must work well under pressure, with speed, accuracy and concentration.
There is a wide variety of surgical technology programs, offered at community colleges, hospitals and vocational schools. Depending on whether the program awards a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree, it takes from nine months to two years to complete.
Licensure and Certification
Certification is not required for surgical technologists, but is often preferred by hospitals. Graduates of surgical technology programs who pass an exam given by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting can become Certified Surgical Technologists (CSTs).
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
The outlook is very good for surgical technologists. The field is expected to grow by 21% in Iowa over the next 10 years.
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