What Is a Surgical Technician?


Quick Answer

More commonly known as surgical technologists, surgical technicians prepare operating rooms and patients before surgery, and they arrange the equipment. Surgical technologists ensure the operating room and equipment are sterile before and during the surgery, and they assist surgeons during procedures.

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Full Answer

These health care professionals are involved in surgeries from start to finish. Before surgery, they make sure the room is clean and sterilized and that the correct equipment is available. They may transport the patient to and from the operating room, and they are often tasked with cleaning and sterilizing a patient's incision site. Surgical technologists pass instruments and other supplies to the doctor as needed, while keeping an accurate count so that nothing is left inside the surgical site. They may also assist the doctor by holding instruments or organs in place as the surgeon operates. After surgery, the surgical technologist may dress the surgical wounds and transport biological material to a lab. They then must clean, sterilize and restock the operating room.

Surgical technologists typically possess either an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate from a 2-year program, and they often work in hospitals or surgery centers. They sometimes follow up their education in an accredited program, with completion of supervised surgical procedures, depending on the state in which they work. Some technologists are required to obtain the Certified Surgical Technician credential and complete continuing education credits.

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