Operating room aides (also known as surgical room technicians, surgical technologists, or "scrubs") are medical professionals who assist doctors and surgeons in operating rooms during surgical procedures and operations.
Operating room aides must have vast and intimate knowledge of surgical tools and procedures, and their duties often revolve around assembling, inspecting, and maintaining surgical tools and instruments. They also help prepare patients for surgery and ensure that that the surgical room is sterile, clean, and adheres to standard medical room codes. Most operating room aides are detail-oriented and able to balance multiple tasks simultaneously, and excellent verbal and written skills are also important in this position.
These aides must be effective communicators and able to work in intense and stressful situations, as patients' lives are at stake during every operation. Because they must handle sensitive, fragile, and expensive equipment on a daily basis, they must also be highly dexterous. Operations may last for many hours, so they must always be in good health and able to stand for many consecutive hours.
Operating room aides must have a high school diploma or equivalent and at least an associate's degree in surgical technology; program lengths vary and may last from 9 months to two years. The program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in order to receive the proper certification.
The working environments of operating room aides are hospitals and medical centers of varying sizes, and they work primarily in operating rooms which are sterile, properly equipped, and well-lit. Operating room aides work with doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other hospital staff, and working hours may vary greatly depending on scheduled operations.
Operating Room Aide Tasks
Change bed linens, wash and iron patients' laundry, and clean patients' quarters.
Entertain, converse with, or read aloud to patients to keep them mentally healthy and alert.
Direct patients in simple prescribed exercises or in the use of braces or artificial limbs.
Check patients' pulse, temperature and respiration.
Provide patients with help moving in and out of beds, baths, wheelchairs or automobiles, and with dressing and grooming.