Surgical tech students cover a lot of material during the classroom portion of the program, but that’s only one part of it. The externship is another part, and it’s where you’ll begin to put your newfound knowledge to work.
What Is an Externship?
Learning isn’t limited to the classroom. After your classes, you’ll take your newfound knowledge to the real world. You’ll participate in a clinical externship at an area hospital or other surgical facility, working in real operating room situations under the supervision of a doctor, RN, or surgeon. This is where learning begins to move from theory to reality.
This portion of the program is critically important. By spending hundreds of hours working in real surgical settings, you can become confident about your ability to carry out orders and understand the needs of different supervising surgeons. Without this portion of the program, you’d feel far less prepared to join the workforce.
How Do You Find a Placement?
Your educational program will help you find a placement, and it’s important to remember that your classroom experience forms the basis for that. One placement coordinator explained that she considers a student’s skills, personality, maturity level, and other factors when determining a placement. Placement coordinators have experience with the process, and they do their best to determine which placement will be most beneficial to each student.
The placement coordinator gets you into the externship, but after that, it’s up to you. Once you’re placed, you have to put their best foot forward from the very first day. Working your first day in an OR is unlike anything else. There’s always a bit of hesitancy, but you know you’re going to power through and do what needs to be done. That’s why a solid educational foundation is so important. If that foundation is shaky, you won’t succeed.
Why Is an Externship Important?
In the classroom, you learn the theory and gain relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities. In the externship, you begin to put all of that to work, and you learn what the job is like daily. Externships allow you to give direct patient care, work as part of the surgical team, and practice skills in a live setting. It gives you a unique opportunity to take your skills from the classroom to the real world.
Similar to an internship or clinical rotation in other roles, externships get you in the field and can have a huge impact on your career and future employment. If you do well, you may even receive a job offer from your externship site. Also, your supervisors at your externship site gain insight into your work; if you do well, their input could be valuable as references when you’re applying for a job.
An Important Part of Your Journey
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 there’s a surgical tech externship in your future, we wish you all the best. It’s an important step toward becoming a surgical tech, and you’ll learn so much. When you’re established in the field and looking for your next assignment, call us at 310.436.3650.