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CAHE Q&A Series: Talking with Edward Sanchez, MD, CST, Director of the Surgical Technology Program

Opportunities acquired from a Surgical Technology Program 

In this article, Edward Sanchez, the Program Director of CAHE’s Surgical Technology Program, provides his insight into the field of surgical technology and career opportunities that professionals in this field can pursue.

Why is Surgical Technology such a great medical career choice? 
An important reason is the scope of practice: surgical technologists are responsible for a wide range of competences. The Association of Surgical Technologists recently published this scope of practice care:

  1. Preparing the operating room for surgical procedures by ensuring that surgical equipment is functioning properly and safely;
  2. preparing the operating room and the sterile field for surgical procedures by preparing sterile supplies, instruments, and equipment using sterile technique;
  3. anticipating the needs of the surgical team based on knowledge of human anatomy and pathophysiology and how they relate to the surgical patient and the patient’s surgical procedure; and
  4. as directed, performing tasks at the sterile field including:
    • passing supplies, equipment or instruments;
    • sponging or suctioning an operative site;
    • preparing and cutting suture material;
    • transferring and irrigating with fluids;
    • transferring and administering drugs within the sterile field, according to applicable law;
    • handling specimens;
    • holding retractors and other instruments;
    • applying electrocautery to clamps on bleeders;
    • connecting drains to suction apparatus;
    • applying dressings to closed wounds; and
    • performing sponge, needle, supply and instrument counts with the registered nurse circulator.

Prospective students can see that this role has broad responsibilities. It’s very hands-on when it comes to technical standards. Our students graduate from the Program fully prepared to enter the healthcare industry as professionals in their field. They benefit from having such wide range of competencies, as it opens a gateway to working alongside renowned physicians and surgeons and build life-long professional relationships in the field.

Our faculty and staff are fully committed to the success of our students, and continue to challenge conventional approaches to education by integrating didactic and hands-on clinical training throughout the program of study.  It is important to mention that since 2017, all three of our Surgical Technology cohorts have had a 100% first-attempt pass rate on the CST pre-certification and credentialing examination.

What “soft skills” or characteristics are necessary to succeed as a Surgical Technologist? 
Innovation plays an important role in this field, so students must to be critical thinkers who think outside the box. For example, surgical technologists may be the first to learn how to use a newly-invented prosthetic and how to use robotics in a surgical procedure.

Surgical technologists need to have a strong mind with a positive attitude as they are involved with many intense processes. On the other hand, they are rewarded with the impact they have on improving patients’ quality of life.

For more information on a rewarding career in surgical technology, including program requirements and financial aid options, visit our program overview.

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