What skills are required to be a Surgical Technologist?

February 1, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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surgical technologist

Surgical Technologists work in operating rooms, assisting surgeons and nurses before, during and after procedures. Before the surgery, they make sure that the room and all the necessary instruments are sterilised and ready for the surgeon. During the procedure, the Surgical Tech provides surgeons with the necessary tools and after the surgery they clean up the OT and make sure all instruments are accounted for.

Educational preparation for this role takes between six months to two years, depending on the programme you enrol in. Surgical Technologists play a unique, hands-on role in a healthcare setting and the skills they need are just as unique. Here are some of the skills necessary to succeed in this career. Do you have what it takes?

Attention to detail

Attention to seemingly minor details is one of the most important of all skills for a Surgical Tech. Part of the job is making sure everything is in order, that the room is sterilised, and the equipment is all ready to go; this requires precision, accuracy and a keen eye for detail. These are also the qualities that will come into play during the surgery, as you instinctively hand over the correct tools right into the surgeon’s hands without fumbling.

A strong stomach

You may not be performing the surgery but during the procedure you’ll be standing at the surgeon’s side and will witness, at very close distance, sights that you would not see in any other setting. From patients’ brains, heart, liver, eyes, bones and intestines to cysts and tumours – you will be within touching distance of it all. And sometimes, things can get messy. That’s also the time that the surgeon will need your assistance the most. You cannot afford to be squeamish in this role. If you feel dizzy at these sights, you’re not going to be much help.

Nerves of steel

A steady hand, nerves of steel and a calm demeanour are a Surgical Tech’s best friends. No matter how tense things become in the operating room, it’s important that you remain calm and continue doing your job without giving into the nerves. The operating room is no place for mistakes, and a Surgical Tech who’s a bundle of nerves is more likely to make them.

Flexibility & adaptability

As a Surgical Tech, you have to be able to adapt to quickly changing situations in the operating room. One minute, things may be going fine, but the whole atmosphere could change in the next. When unexpected things happen, you have to be able to adapt to it quickly and remain calm no matter how intense the situation.

If you have what it takes to work as a Surgical Tech, the satisfaction you will get as you help save lives is beyond compare.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.