By Josephine Reid
From prepping for surgery, to tasks during the surgery and post-surgery, a surgical technologist, or scrub tech has a variety of responsibilities.
It is typically the surgical tech's job to prepare both the patient and the operating room for surgeries. This includes sterilizing the equipment and ensuring there are adequate supplies in the operating room before the surgeon begins, and is expected to maintain sterile medical scrubs.
Since scrub techs are the first to enter this sterile zone, they are freshly scrubbed, and covered with sterile gloves and gowns over their medical scrubs. That scrubbing and gowning process is referred to as "scrubbing in," so perioperative nurses and surgical technologists working within the sterile field are usually referred to as scrub nurses or scrub techs. They also help prep the patients by cleansing and disinfecting any incision areas. The tech might also retract tissues, apply suction or assist with suturing. The scrub tech also monitors the supplies and requests additional items from circulating staff as needed.
During the surgery, with gowns over their medical scrubs, surgical techs assist the surgeons by handing them instruments at their request. They may help by holding organs in place or using retractors during the surgery. Once the procedure is completed, they are responsible for helping dress the wound and transferring patients into recovery rooms.
A surgical tech position is an on-the-move all day long kind of job. No two days are the same for a surgical tech. Even for those who specialize in assisting for the same type of surgery, each patient and procedure will vary from the next. Surgeries do not always go by the book, which demands the need to stay on your toes and be prepared for whatever happens. There are plenty of high-pressure scenarios that keep scrub tech on their feet!
Surgical technology is taught primarily at vocational and community colleges.