Surgical technologists, also called surgical technicians, surgery techs or scrubs, work as part of an operating room surgical team. They assist surgeons and other members of the surgical team during operations, including pre-surgery setup and post-operation tasks.
Here is a general job description of the surgical tech’s job responsibilities as part of the surgical team.
Before the patient is brought into surgery, the surgical technologist prepares the operating room by setting up sterile equipment and instruments, sterile drapes and sterile solutions. They also prepare the patient by cleaning and disinfecting incision sites, bringing them to the operating room and positioning them on the operating table. Finally, the surgical tech helps prepare the surgeons themselves by helping them with their surgical gloves and sterile gowns.
While the operation is in progress, the surgical tech monitors the patient’s vital signs and passes instruments to the surgeons as needed. They may also hold retractors and assist with cutting sutures, as well as keep track of supplies. A good surgical tech will also know enough about the surgical procedure to be able to predict what the surgeons will need, and have it ready.
After the Operation
Once the surgery is finished, the surgical tech brings the patient to recovery. They also reset and restock the operating room, preparing it with new sterile items and checking the equipment to make sure it is working properly for the next surgery.
Other Types of Surgical Technologist
With additional training and experience, entry-level surgical techs may advance to become one of these more specialized surgical technologists:
First Assistant: This specially trained surgery technician helps to control blood flow (hemostasis) during the operation, preventing hemorrhage and helping ensure a safe operation.
Circulating Technologist: This is the “unsterile” member of the operating team, who handles unsterile items during the procedure. The circulating technologist also takes notes during the surgical process, and may interview the patient before surgery in order to be able to answer any questions the doctors have.