Most surgical techs work in hospitals, but they can work in a variety of settings, including outpatient facilities and medical offices. Many of the duties may be the same, but there can be some variations from one setting to another, such as from a hospital to an outpatient surgery center.
Overall surgical tech duties
Some general surgical tech duties may be consistent from one workplace to another. Surgical techs have specific tasks before, during, and after surgery; this is true whether the procedure is a minor outpatient procedure or a major surgery in a hospital. These duties may include preparing the surgical space, handing instruments to the surgeon, moving the patient to a recovery area, and clearing the operating room for the next case.
The surgical tech’s role begins before the surgery starts and ends after it is done; they are essential members of the surgical team. In addition to the duties listed above, surgical techs may also count supplies, such as sponges and instruments. One of the surgical tech’s most important duties is to maintain a sterile environment.
Duties in an outpatient setting
Surgical techs who work in outpatient settings may have duties that are very similar to surgical techs who work in hospitals. The biggest difference is in the types of surgeries. Most outpatient surgery is performed on patients who are otherwise healthy and have a lower risk of complications, while major surgeries, such as total joint replacements and heart surgery, take place in a hospital.
As outpatient facilities, these surgical centers will limit the types of surgeries they perform; that means surgical techs who work there will not work on major surgeries, such as the total joint replacements and heart surgeries noted above. Outpatient facilities still perform a wide variety of surgeries, which may include arthroscopic, cardiology, gastroenterology and endoscopy, general surgery, gynecology, minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopedics, pain management, pediatric dentistry, pulmonology, urology, and vascular surgery.
Challenging – and rewarding
Whether they work in hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, or elsewhere, surgical techs are important members of surgical teams. Although their work is often behind the scenes, surgeries can’t happen without them. As a key member of the team, the surgical technologist must anticipate the needs of the patient and the surgeon to ensure that each operation goes as smoothly as possible.
Finally, surgical techs must be able to think on their feet and be prepared to go the extra mile. For example, during a power outage, a surgical tech gathered enough cell phones to light up the operating room so the surgeon could complete the procedure. Although the job can be challenging, it’s rewarding for surgical techs to know they are helping patients every day.
We value surgical techs
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. If you are a surgical tech considering a new role, give us a call at 310.436.3650. We would love to work with you!