Surgical Technologist: Laura Gross

Surgical Tech
Since 2008

Laura Gross
Surgical Technologist
Years in School:
St. Anthony Regional Hospital, Carroll
Years in Profession:

1. Why did you choose to become a surgical technologist?

I chose to become a surgical tech after working for 20+ years on the paperwork side of healthcare. I decided it was time to cross over to patient care and surgery had always interested me. I am living proof that you’re never too old to pursue a career.

2. What is your typical work day like?

A typical day as a surgical tech begins at 7:00 a.m. I find out which surgical cases I have been assigned that day and begin to prepare the operating room for them. Once the procedure is finished, I am responsible for restocking the OR and making sure supplies and instruments are ready for the next day.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

The OR can be a very intimidating place for patients. They look to you for reassurance and comfort. To be able to provide that to them gives you a sense of satisfaction. Surgical procedures are constantly changing, so it’s important for a surgical tech to stay current on the changes in order to provide better patient care. It can be a challenge with all the different specialties and surgeries.

4. What is the biggest myth or misconception about your career or field?

I think the biggest misconception about surgical technology is that just because it is only a one-year program that it must be easy. The truth is, the program is taught at a very rapid pace and the amount of information can be overwhelming. But you get the best view in the room and learn so much about the human body!

5. What steps did you take in high school and college to help prepare you for your career?

I would suggest taking as many math and science classes as possible in high school to help prepare for a career in surgical technology. Many high schools now have college courses. A high school or college student would also benefit from taking on a part-time job in the healthcare field. Many schools and colleges offer a job shadowing program, which would be an excellent opportunity to find out if this is the career for you.

6. What did you find difficult during your career preparation? How did you overcome these obstacles?

I was 41 years old when I decided to pursue a career in surgical technology. There is no doubt that getting back into “study mode” after 23 years was the most challenging. Balancing school with a part-time job was no less challenging. I was very inspired to make it work since it was only going to be a year out of my life to prepare for a career that would be rewarding.

7. What do you see as the strengths and skills needed to succeed in your career?

Not only are your patients relying on you, but so are your surgeons. No surgery is the same and they can go bad very quickly. It is important to have the skills to adapt to the situation at hand, while always remaining calm. A surgical tech is constantly multitasking, which is a quality you will need to possess.

8. What advice would you offer to students interested in pursuing a career as a surgical technologist?

Surgical technology is a very intense program. There is a lot to learn in a short period of time. The learning curve is long and it is a career where you aren’t going to know it all when you graduate. The advancements in technology are constantly changing. It is important to not give up!

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