Surgery tech a vital and viable career option

Zara Basham

If you imagine an operating room, you probably conjure up images of a surgeon with a notorious blue surgical gown and gloves, a patient on the table, maybe a nurse and some sterile drapes.

But when a patient's life is on the line, doctors and nurses are not the only people behind the masks in an operating room -- the surgical technologist is another key member of the team. These "unsung heroes" are the cornerstone of the operating room.

What do surgical technologists do? And perhaps more importantly, is becoming a surgical technologist worth your time and energy? The main role of a surgical technologist is to serve as a patient advocate by preventing infections before, during, and after the operation.

Surgical technologists serve as the "right hand" to the surgeon, working diligently behind-the-scenes to ensure patient quality and safety. surgical technologist s manage complex tasks ranging from scrubbing and maintaining sterility to keeping count of all surgical instruments to monitoring the surgical field.

Because every little detail matters in the operating room, not only do surgical technologists need to understand the surgical procedure being performed, they also need to anticipate both the patient's and surgeon's needs to ensure that each maneuver is performed as smoothly as possible.

Some of the day-to-day duties of a surgical technologist:

• Prepare the operating room for an upcoming procedure

• Sterilize instruments and equipment being used in the operating room

• Communicate with team members about maintaining the sterile field

• Hand sterile instruments to the surgeon during operations

• Assist with clean-up after the operation

How much does a surgical technologist make? Once employed, surgical technologists will have above-average earning potential. Based on research conducted for the Green River Region by the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYStats) in 2017, the median annual surgical technologist salary was $40,948. Source: Kentucky Labor Market Information.

Surgical technologists are an integral part of the operating room team and have a tremendous impact on patient care and surgical procedures. They are the first, middle, and last line of protection to ensure the care of the patient, at its highest level. As a surgical technologist, you make a difference in the lives of others and the health care field.

Are you ready to make an impact and become a surgical technologist? Check out the 10-month associate degree, Surgical Technology program at Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC). This nationally accredited program prepares students to take the Certified Surgical Technology (CST) Exam of the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Students in the OCTC surgical technology program receive a valuable education combined with hands-on training in state-of-the-art technologies.

OCTC has achieved a cumulative first-time pass rate of 91% since, which includes a first-time pass rate of 100% the last six consecutive years, on the CST Exam as well as an overall 98% job placement rate.

For more information on surgical technology as a career option or to apply for the program contact: Zara Basham, program coordinator, at or 270-686-4650.

Zara Basham is OCTC's Surgical Technology Program coordinator.

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