You’re here because you want to know, “What does a surgical tech do?” A surgical tech is also called a surgical technologist or an operating room technician. The duties of a surgical tech involve setting up the operating room and arranging the surgical instruments on the trays. In addition to the nursing staff, a surgical tech must stand-by to pass surgical supplies to the surgical doctors.
Reviewing each patient’s chart, properly identifying each patient, matches surgery to the patient’s consent forms, are also duties of a surgical tech. A surgical tech helps monitor the comfort of the patient and talks to the patient to reassure and put them at ease because they are in capable hands.
The first medical professional in an operating room is typically the surgical technologist. They are part of the first scrub attendee to set-up and check that the room is fully equipped with everything needed for the scheduled operation.
When setting up the surgical tools and supplies needed by the surgeon, the technologist must also make sure that the equipment is in excellent working condition. If not, before the surgical team arrives, he or she must make the necessary adjustments.
Non-Contamination Is Vital
Keeping an operating room sterile is a key responsibility for a surgical tech. Their responsibilities to the patients, doctors, and surgical staff includes the following:
- delivers patients to and from the operating room
- wash and disinfect the patient’s incision area while on the operating table
- covers patients with sterile drapes
- help the surgical staff with their gowns, masks, and gloves
- secures all the operating equipment
- passes the necessary equipment to the surgeon
A surgical tech has the responsibility to make sure that there are no sterile problems in the operating room to protect patients from receiving an infection. A surgical tech must have knowledge of the surgical procedures to be performed to anticipate the needs of the surgical physician and staff.
A Surgical Technologist Is The Operating Room Maintenance Attendant
The tech must also keep track of all the surgical supplies used during the operation. The supplies include sponges, medications, sutures, instruments, dressings, and more. Contamination in an operating environment is always life-threatening which makes a surgical tech job a vital one.
Additional duties of a surgical tech involve the following:
- Measures medications, antihemorrhagic agents, and irrigation solutions
- Prepares exacting suture material for the surgical team
- Prepares and gives samples or specimen solutions as needed
- After an operation, the surgical tech helps to clean the room
- Prepares the operating room for the next procedure
As a part of the medical team, a surgical tech has light administrative duties like participating in debriefing and quality improvement sessions that involves each surgical team that he or she works with.
Surgical Technologists’ Daily Environment
Because a surgical tech works under lights that beam directly down on them, they must resolve themselves to uncomfortable conditions. A surgical tech must be on their feet nearly their entire shift which may include up to 12 hours unless there is an emergency, then the shift or rotation would be extended.
Many surgical technologists work in a variety of emergency specialties like maternity, cardiac, urology, orthopedics and more. The medical environment of a surgical tech is not limited to a hospital setting. They also work in a private doctor’s office, a dental office, and an outpatient care facility.
Due to the increased innovations in medical technology, a surgical tech is introduced to amazing surgical tools. Robotic surgical procedures have been introduced, fiber optics are now used, and laser technology is becoming the normal surgical equipment that a surgical tech must learn how to monitor and operate.
When a surgical tech reports to work, he or she is reporting to surgeons, nurses, therapists, and other medical care specialists. In other words, every day is challenging and is a growing opportunity for a surgical tech to make a difference in patient’s lives. A surgical tech can advance their career by becoming a surgical nurse or other specialist.
The Sterile and Non-Sterile Area
A surgical tech can also advance to become a First Surgical Assistant whose job it is to help surgeons with hands-on techniques like holding open a surgical incision while the surgeon operates, performs grafts or applies wound dressings.
In an operating room, there is a sterile area and a non-sterile area that the surgical staff cannot cross between once an operation is underway. A surgical tech can also be present only in the non-surgical section of the operating room to keep extra supplies and equipment as needed in the non-sterile section of the active operating room.
In the sterile part of the operating room, the surgical technologist has set-up a table close to the table where a patient lies – this is the most important sterile field in the operating room. This sterile area does not change until the surgery is finished, meaning all of the operating team members do not move beyond the table. The unsterile area is at least 12 inches away from the team and the patient.
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