Becoming A Surgical Technologist

The primary function of a Surgical Technologist is to maintain a sterile surgical field and perform the following duties:

  • Scrubbing, gowning and gloving prior to entering the field
  • Being vigilant to possible contaminations
  • Pass instrumentation, sponges, and suturing material to the surgeon and/or surgical assistant
  • Request needed supplies from the circulator
  • Account for all counted surgical supplies, sponges and instruments before, during and after the procedure
  • Be the patient’s advocate at all times during surgical procedure

Other duties may include holding retractors or suctioning the surgical site under the direct supervision of the surgeon, helping the circulator or anesthesia in the non-sterile role, and accompanying specimens to the pathology department.

Following the procedure, the surgical technologist breaks down the sterile field and disposes of all sharp and contaminated materials safely, carries non-disposable items to the decontamination room to be processed and begins preparing for the next procedure.

The ST shares responsibilities before, during and after the surgical procedure with other Surgical Technologists, the circulating Registered Nurse (RN), anesthesia personnel and any ancillary personnel involved.

A proficient Surgical Technologist must display a caring attitude toward the patient and fellow team members. It is also necessary to understand normal anatomy and physiology, the pathological condition affecting the patient, the planned operative procedure, work under stressful situations, and be able to think critically and problem solve.

Qualification requirements for a Surgical Technologist include but are not limited to:

  1. Honesty, integrity, self-esteem and dependability
  2. Responsibility and self-management of own actions
  3. Ability to respond quickly to directions
  4. Ability to collaborate and work well with other health care team members
  5. Prepare for and anticipate the surgeons needs
  6. Display professional and ethical conduct at all times
  7. Possess Manual dexterity as well as visual dexterity
  8. Ability to lift a minimum of 50 pounds
  9. Ability to stand for 4-8 hours with little or no breaks
  10. Ability to stand and reach the sterile surgical field without contamination
  11. Be able to maintain composure during stressful or emergent situations
  12. Maintain strict confidentiality of the patient
  13. Ability to be on call and be available to work overtime, weekends and holidays when required