Surgical assistants provide assistance surgeons during medical procedures in the operating room. They work directly under surgeons and must follow their orders at all times. Surgical assistants' work also includes preparation for surgeries, including following antiseptic techniques and sterilization procedures. Individuals in this position must also consistently check that required equipment is functioning properly and does not need maintenance. Work hours vary greatly depending on the employer and position, but often shift flexibility and long shifts are required. Surgical assistants generally must be on call for long periods, but actual work during these times varies based on demand. This position involves potential exposure to hazardous environments, ranging from body fluids and chemicals to radiation and diseases.
The most basic educational qualification for surgical positions includes either a medical school degree or certification as a surgical assistant. CPR certification is often required, and other specialized requirements may exist depending on the position. Most positions also require experience working in an operating room prior to applying. The ability to handle high-stress situations is required, as is the ability to recognize the varying needs of a wide array of patients. Surgical assistants must be able to work well in a team setting, and basic computer skills may also be required depending on the needs of the employer.
Surgical Assistant Tasks
Assist during operations and procedures by providing tools, sterilizing, and performing medical tasks.
Prepare patients and rooms for procedures.
Examine patients, collect, and update health histories and convey discharge instructions.
Document, process, and track patient and procedure information in electronic systems.