What is a surgical instrument technician? – A Surgical Instrument Technician is simply a Certified Surgical Technologist by a different name. The job is the same, as is the training requirements, but some employers may place ads for a Surgical Instrument Technician, so it is good to know that the terms are interchangeable. In that knowledge, Certified Surgical Technologists can avoid missing employment opportunities that they are fully qualified for but do not apply because of a misunderstanding of the job title.
The Job Duties of a Surgical Instrument Technician
A Surgical Instrument Technician is responsible for preparing patients and surgical equipment for surgical procedures. The duties may include:
- Obtaining and documenting patient information such as vital signs and drug allergies
- Preparing an incision site for surgery by washing, shaving, and disinfecting the area
- Obtaining the surgical instruments that will be necessary to perform the procedure
- Ensuring all surgical equipment is sterile and in good working order
- Preparing the operating room as a sterile environment, including positioning sterile drapes if they are used
- Transporting patients from the preparation room to the operating room and assisting in the transfer of the patient to the operating table
- Assisting surgeons, nurses, and other surgical personnel with getting into their sterile surgical clothing
A Certified Surgical Technologist will also have a number of responsibilities during the surgical procedure. They may stand in close proximity to the surgeon in order to pass the various surgical instruments when asked for. They will also be responsible for keeping a constant inventory of all equipment and sponges and make sure each is accounted for prior to the closure of the incision.
After the procedure is complete, a Surgical Instrument Technician may help to transport the patient back to the recovery area. They may also be responsible for gathering non-disposable surgical equipment and ensuring their proper sterilization. Sometimes, a Certified Surgical Technologist will be asked to restock an operating room for the next procedure with sterile surgical equipment.
How to Become a Surgical Instrument Technician
Those who wish to become a Surgical Instrument Technician must complete an accredited Certified Surgical Technologist training program. Most of these programs will be found at local colleges and technical schools, but there are a few online programs available as well. Once the student has successfully completed the program they will become eligible to take the national certification exam.
When registering to take the exam, students must provide documentation of their training and pay an exam and processing fee. This fee must be paid in advance to the exam. After Certified Surgical Technologist students have provided all of the required information they will receive a letter from the Board inviting them to schedule an exam date. Students must arrive on time in order to take the exam; those who are late will forfeit the entire exam fee.
If the student passes the Certified Surgical Technologist exam they will then receive the appropriate documentation that proves that they are, in fact, a well qualified Surgical Instrument Technician.