A surgical technician is a medical professional who works primarily in the operating room. As a member of the surgical team, a surgical technician usually works under the direction of a surgeon or registered nurse. Other names for these professionals include surgical technologists, surgical assistants, and surgical techs. Their main duty is to assist the surgeon during an operation, but they typically perform various other tasks in the operating room both before and after surgery.
The largest provider of surgical technician jobs is hospitals, although doctors' offices, clinics, and outpatient facilities also provide employment opportunities. A small number of technicians, referred to as private scrubs, work for surgeons who assemble their own special teams to provide services such as organ transplants. Others work as teachers or consultants in the surgical technology field, and some combine their medical expertise with work in other professions such as writing and photography.
Although specific duties vary according to location and assignment, surgical technician jobs usually involve getting the operating room ready for a procedure. Prior to an operation, technicians sterilize equipment and instruments and make sure the equipment works properly. They may also assemble instruments, solutions, and sterile drapes for use during the operation.
Surgical technicians may also help prepare patients for surgery. They shave, clean, and disinfect the incision area before the patient goes to the operating room. Once in the operating room, they usually help get the patient situated on the table, monitor vital signs, and help the surgeon and nurses put on sterile surgical attire.
During a surgical procedure, surgical technicians assist the surgeon by passing instruments and supplies. Other surgical technician jobs may include cutting stitches, holding retractors, and helping to count needles, sponges, and other supplies. Technicians may also assist in the preparation and disposal of specimens collected for biopsy. Some may help apply bandages to incisions and assist with medication preparation.
After surgery, technicians often help transport the patient to the recovery area. They remove soiled instruments and supplies from the operating room and take care of the equipment. They normally clean the operating room and restock it with supplies.
People with surgical technician jobs can advance with training in specialized areas. Some choose to specialize in a particular type of surgery, such as cardiology, neurosurgery, or orthopedics. Some work in management positions in hospitals, overseeing central supply needs. Others work for companies that deal with concerns and needs related to surgical technology, such as those that provide sterile supplies and surgical equipment.