How Surgical Technologists Make the Operating Room a Safer Place

Guarding against infection is a critical role

An operation room is a busy place. A whole team of professionals is assigned specific duties in order to complete the operation in a safe and effective manner. Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists take care of the necessary anesthesia. Surgeons and their resident assistants perform the procedure. And Surgical Technologists—also known as scrub techs—assist the entire team by managing the sterile field. In other words, the scrub techs follow the proper safety protocols to prevent infection during the operation.

This blog post examines the role of surgical technologists and why they are so crucial to making the operating room a safer place.

What do surgical technologists do?
The main role of the scrub tech is to prevent infections. When patients are being operated on, there is a high chance for infection, because their skin is open and their internal organs are exposed. Infections acquired during operations can be very dangerous to the patient, especially since they are already weakened from the surgery itself. For this reason, preventing hospital-acquired infections is the most important responsibility of surgical technicians.

Before an operation, the surg tech is responsible for “scrubbing in” the operating team. This means helping the team to dress in their sterile clothing for the operation. They need to wear scrub suits, masks, eyewear, gloves, head covers, and shoe covers. And it’s not as simple as getting dressed in the morning! A special procedure has to be followed to ensure that there is no contamination while the team is getting dressed. The surgical technologist also has to sterilize the surgical instruments and equipment using a specific procedure.

During the operation, the surg tech may be responsible for handing instruments to the surgeon. Surg techs must also monitor the sterile field throughout the procedure to make sure that none of the team members accidentally breaches the sterile field.

A day in the life of a surgical technician
To get a better understanding of the day-to-day tasks of a surgical techician, take a look at some of the things they do on the job:

  • Prepare the O.R. for an upcoming operation
  • Sterilize instruments and equipment being used in the operating room
  • Scrub in the operating team (help them get dressed in sterile suits)
  • Communicate with team members about maintaining the sterile field
  • Hand sterile instruments to the surgeon during operations
  • Assist with clean-up after the operation
  • Prepare for the next operation

Becoming a surg tech
If you are interested in becoming a surgical technologist, you might want to explore the training options near you. Training programs are usually available at community colleges or career training schools. Look for a program that is accredited. You might also want to find a school that places its students in real-world externships before graduation. Here are some of the subjects you may learn in your surgical technologist training program:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • How to create a sterile field
  • Sterilization techniques
  • A scrub tech’s responsibility during surgical procedures
  • How to prepare the operating room for common operations

We hope this article has helped you to understand the important role that surgical techs play in the field of healthcare. Remember, it takes a team of professionals to conduct a successful operation, and every member of the team is important to achieving the best outcome for the patient.

The Branford Hall Career Institute—with locations throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—offers a Surgical Technology training program in our North Brunswick, New Jersey campus. If you live in our area, find out more about this program by contacting us online.