The Daily Life of a Surgical Tech

The surgery room often evokes images of a green-clad man, armed with scalpels and barking out orders. Most don’t think about the team of surgical technicians who make so many surgeries possible in the first place. These specialists are the people who provide and arrange the life-saving devices many doctors need. Students who are interested in working in the medical field but don’t want to go to medical school can find their place as a technician. What is it, exactly, that a surgical tech does in her day-to-day life?

Tasks Before The Surgery

Before an operation takes place, surgical techs are the people who make sure the operating room is set up correctly. This does not just mean setting the appropriate tools for the surgery; it also involves small factors like whether the surgeon is left or right handed, confirming the procedure plan with the patient, and whatever preferences the practicing surgeon might have. Surgical techs are usually the first in line to verify that the room, equipment, and any clothing worn by the doctors or patients are sterilized and safe to use.

Tasks During The Surgery

A surgical tech’s duties are at their most unexpected during a surgery. Though you may have seen the classic scene of a doctor shouting “scalpel!” to make an incision, there are hundreds of more appliances that a tech must memorize before being properly qualified. It is rare for any two surgeries to be the same – even if the medical condition is similar – and part of the tech’s duties is predicting what the surgeon will ask for next. This predictive instinct is what allows many surgeries to smoothly proceed. Other tasks include keeping incision sites open so the doctor can see what she is doing during the procedure, and accounting what tools or items were used so nothing is accidentally left inside a patient after stitching the incision closed.

Tasks After The Surgery

After the procedure, it is the surgical tech who makes sure bandages are correctly applied to the patient and that the patient leaves the operating room (OR) safely. Once the patient is gone, it is time for cleanup duty. The surgical tech works with a team of nurses to wash and sterilize the OR to prepare for the next operation. Dirty instruments used during the operation are taken to the sterile processing department for a proper cleaning. It is not uncommon for the tech to work a day of back-to-back operations, which means once the OR is cleaned up, it’s time for the next surgical assignment.

Without surgical technicians, many lead surgeons would not be able to fulfill their duty to treat the patients. Each healthcare facility will have its differences with more specific tasks, but knowing the basic instruments and understanding general responsibilities are vital aspects to succeeding in this career. Are you ready to take on your first job as a surgical technician? Take a look at what jobs are available on Ardor Health today.


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