What does a sterile processing technician do? What does a surgical technologist do? Are the two jobs the same? These are common questions, especially for people who are considering a career in the medical field. What are the similarities, what are the differences – and what kind of personality is suited to each job?
Similarities and Differences
As the position titles imply, a sterile processing technician is responsible for processing instruments to ensure that they are sterile. Along the same lines, a surgical technologist is involved in surgical procedures. Both roles have a lot to do with keeping the medical instruments and equipment sterile and safe.
However, that’s where the roles diverge. Most of the duties of a surgical technologist are in the operating room helping the surgical team…and performing tasks during the procedure. The sterile processing technician…is outside of the OR and mainly deals with the cleaning and sterilization of equipment and medical instruments.
Working Behind the Scenes
Some people prefer to work behind the scenes and stay out of the spotlight. If a person considering these careers likes to remain behind the scenes, the role of sterile processing technician may be preferable. People in this role perform a variety of background technical functions that impact all levels of patient care. Their efforts can significantly impact patient outcomes, including mortality rates, (the) length of hospital stay, and costs of overall care.
Why is this job so important? It comes down to one key fact: sterile processing technicians are responsible for making sure that every tool that is used in a medical facility, including hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, is properly sterilized. Clearly, when tools are properly sterilized, the impact on all of the factors noted above will be positive, and that’s why sterile processing technicians are important in any health care environment.
Working as a Member of the Surgical Team
During any type of surgery, each member of the surgical team is important. Surgical technologists are an integral part of the surgical team, working with surgeons, nurses, and other personnel before, during, and after an operation. As a result, surgical techs must be comfortable working as part of a team, working directly with patients, and working under pressure.
Each case is different, and each day is different, but a surgical tech’s shift may include preparing operating rooms, preparing patients for surgery, passing instruments and other supplies to the surgeon, maintaining a sterile field in the operating room, and monitoring and assessing room conditions.
Providing the Best Patient Care
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. Sterile techs and surgical techs perform different functions, but each role is critical to providing excellent patient care. If you’re ready for the challenge, we’d like to talk with you. Give us a call at 310.436.3650 today.