Surgical Assistant-A Great Career Choice – You’ve landed here because you’re ready to start your career as a surgical assistant. Great! But before you make any final decisions. We’ve put together a quick and handy guide to help you get started in the right direction. That includes the techs and assistants who understand how to assist in the operating room. The demand for an assistant is reflected in the surgical technician salary.
Surgical Assistant Job Description
Your job would require you to assist during the surgery. This normally includes helping with wound closure, hemostasis, exposure and other duties designed to ensure the safety of the patient.
Now there are several other responsibilities that the position requires. There are way too many to list here. So instead we’ll focus on the most common, just to give you a really good overall idea of what is expected.
Typical Duties Performed By A Surgical Assistant
- Prepare the operating room prior to surgery
- Ensure the operating room and all instruments and machines have been sterilized and remain so during the surgery.
- Assist the surgeon during procedures. Suturing, cut tissue, inserting drainage tubes, assist with CPR in the event this becomes necessary. There are dozens of other medical procedures a surgical assistant may be required to perform. All must be under the supervision and direction of the surgeon.
- Cleaning and sterilizing the operating room after the surgery
- Checking to make sure all paperwork is in order.
By now you can see the important role a surgical assistant plays throughout the entire process. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? You will actually assist in the overall well being of the patient. You are right there front and center! So let’s take a look at the kind of education you will need, in order to become a part of this fast-growing area within the healthcare field.
Surgical assistant jobs is to help the surgeon by preparing the patients for the procedure that will be performed and set up the OR with all the equipment that will be needed. Along with that, they also scrub in and assist the surgeon as they perform the surgery with a wide range of duties. In order to do this job well, they will need to be able to communicate well with everyone on the team.
Since the operating room can be expected to be a high-pressure environment, with the very life of a patient in the hands of the entire team, the ideal surgical assistant must be able to work under this kind of pressure. For one thing, these professional surgical assistants must be able to select the proper instruments needed during a particular type of surgery and place them on the tray so that they will be convenient and easy to locate during the procedure.
Radiographs are also used during any surgery so that the doctor will be able to use them to determine where to make the incision, and to refer to as the operation proceeds. Surgical assistants are also in charge of helping to position the patient on the table and getting them draped properly for surgery. They will also insert urinary bladder catheters and help to retract tissues and organs to help create a better view of the targeted area during surgery.
Surgical assistants are also given the responsibility of applying chemical agents that are needed to help stop the flow of blood that can obstruct the view of the site. Along with that, they must also maintain the sterility of the area and cut tissues and clamp off areas as per the surgeon’s orders. They are also given the duties of closing wounds and applying dressings. They must also be ready to help with the resuscitation of patients who undergo critical problems like a heart attack during surgery.
Surgical Assistant Certification Requirements and Surgical Assistant Programs
If you want to increase your chances of landing a well-paying job as a surgical assistant. You need to prepare yourself with education and proper training. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends the following:
- Must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher in science. If you do not have your bachelor’s degree, an Associates degree in an allied health field with 3 years of experience is also acceptable.
- Attend a surgical assistant certification program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP)
Should take and pass college-level coursework in:
- Surgical microbiology
- Medical Terminology
- Surgical Anatomy
- Complications during surgery
- Computer literacy and clinical application using computers.
If this list seems a bit daunting, well it’s the tip of the iceberg. But if this is the field you wish to pursue and you’ve got your mind made up. Then it’s time to move forward.
The healthcare industry continues to grow due to several factors. But mainly due to better successful drug treatments for many different diseases. This means people are living longer. As the population continues to grow across the U.S. The demand for health professionals will also grow.
In order to participate in this critical area of the healthcare profession, the aspiring surgical assistant must participate in a surgical assistant education program that is accredited. This field of study involves 10 to 22 months of surgical assistant courses of classroom study including such topics as microbiology, and pharmacology as well as advanced anatomy and complications of surgery. To enter such a program the aspiring student must already have attained a Bachelor of Science degree or have their associate degree in the field of health care plus three years of experience.
With the healthcare industry expanding rapidly, there is no end to what can be done once the surgical assistant has been practicing for some time. As of 2010, the average surgical assistant salary for someone who entered this kind of career was $44,000. With that kind of earning power, the outlook for assistants for surgeons appears bright for those just entering the profession. Our active society and the fact that the growing population of elderly are the largest group of benefactors of the surgery suite means that there will always be a place for trained and qualified surgical assistants.