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What Happens in the Operating Room

A Surgical Technologist’s Role: Maintaining a sterile field is a key responsibility for a Surgical Technologist

If you are interested in becoming a Surgical Technologist, it is important to know some of the responsibilities that will be expected of you. There are many job activities that take place both inside and outside of the operating room. This article focuses on the ones that take place during a surgical procedure.

For many operations, it is a surgical technologist’s job to maintain a sterile field while serving in the operating room during an operation. The process of creating a sterile field begins before the actual operation. The tech must first scrub and then put on a sterile gown and sterile gloves. It is also important to help other members of the sterile team with putting on their gowns and gloves. Then the sterile team can set up the sterile drapes that serve to isolate the site of the operation to keep it sterile.

Once the operation begins, the surgical technologist will be responsible for tasks such as:

  • Helping the surgical team with applying monitoring devices as needed
  • Assisting the surgical team prepare the incision site
  • Holding a retractor or other instruments
  • Passing surgical instruments to the surgical team
  • Using a sponge or a suction hose
  • Preparing specimens for the pathology lab
  • Applying dressings
  • Ensuring that the sterile field is maintained at all times

This last responsibility—ensuring that the sterile field is maintained—is a very important job of surgical technologists. Not only must they be certain to conduct all of their actions using the rules for the sterile field, but they must also help observe others to make sure they using aseptic technique.

Handing instruments, sutures, and sponges to the surgeon may sound easy, but in a complex surgery, it can get complicated to keep everything organized. It is important to be able to anticipate the needs of the surgeon, and have the correct instruments ready ahead of time. Surgical technologists must keep track of all of these materials before, during, and even after the procedure when instruments need to be sterilized. And above all, the sterility must be maintained.

We hope this brief glimpse into a surgical technologist’s role in the operating room has been useful. If you are interested in learning more about the role of a surgical technologist, you may want to read 5 Things to Know About Becoming a Surgical Technologist.

The Harris School of Business is proud to offer a Surgical Technologist training program at its campuses in Dover, Delaware and Voorhees, New Jersey. With career-focused training at eight campuses throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut, the Harris School has many programs to offer. For more information, complete our online information form, and a representative will contact you shortly.