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Patient safety is a priority in the operating room, and everyone on the surgical team plays a role in it. Surgical techs are important members of OR teams, and they are integral to patient safety in several ways.

Safety is a priority from the beginning

A surgical tech’s educational program covers the material and skills a surgical tech needs to be successful in the field, and this includes patient safety. In a simulated surgical environment, students practice preparing, setting up, and maintaining a sterile field, sterilization and disinfection procedures, preparation of supplies and equipment for surgery, and patient preparation.

These skills are essential because, as a typical job description notes, safety is a key component part of the job. Surgical technologists work under the supervision of a surgeon to facilitate the safe and effective conduct of invasive surgical procedures, ensuring that the operating room environment is safe…and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety.

Safety is a priority for everyone on the team

Of course, patient safety is a priority for the entire surgical team. Some hospitals and outpatient facilities use checklists, some use team training, and some use a combination to help them maximize patient safety. In that way, the entire team can use these tools to work together on patient safety goals.

All members of the OR team, including surgical techs, must speak up if they see anything that might compromise patient safety. This could include a variety of things, such as violating the sterile field, retained surgical items, performing surgery on the wrong location, or a number of other problems.

Specific to the surgical tech

However, the surgical tech has some specific duties in regard to patient safety. Surgical techs learn about all of the instruments used during surgery and work on learning to have materials ready before the surgeon even asks for them. The more the surgical tech can anticipate the needs of the surgeon without the surgeon having to ask, the sooner the procedure can be completed and the patient brought out from under anesthesia.

An operating room must be a sterile environment to minimize the risk of infection, and the surgical tech bears much of that responsibility. This may include but is not limited to preparing the operating room by sterilizing equipment and making sure all necessary supplies are ready for surgery and prepping patients by washing and disinfecting incision sites.

Searching for your next assignment?

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. We value surgical techs; they have an important role in the OR and in patient safety. Are you a surgical tech searching for your next assignment? We’d love to help; give us a call at 310.436.3650.

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