Surgical Assistants

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About the Job

Assist surgeons during surgery by performing duties such as tissue retraction, insertion of tubes and intravenous lines, or closure of surgical wounds. Perform preoperative and postoperative duties to facilitate patient care.

It is also Called

  • Surgical Technician (Surgical Tech)
  • Surgical Services Assistant
  • Surgical Scrub Technician (Surgical Scrub Tech)
  • Surgical First Assistant
  • Surgical Assistant-Certified (SA-C)
  • Surgical Assistant
  • Surgery Technician
  • Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)
  • Operating Room Technician
  • Operating Room Assistant
View All

What They Do

  • Assist in volume replacement or autotransfusion techniques.
  • Insert or remove urinary bladder catheters.
  • Postoperatively inject a subcutaneous local anesthetic agent to reduce pain.
  • Incise tissue layers in lower extremities to harvest veins.
  • Remove patient hair or disinfect incision sites to prepare patient for surgery.
  • Transport patients to operating room.
  • Assist in applying casts, splints, braces, or similar devices.
  • Adjust and maintain operating room temperature, humidity, or lighting, according to surgeon's specifications.
  • Coordinate with anesthesia personnel to maintain patient temperature.
  • Gather, arrange, or assemble instruments or supplies.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: CSR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Conventional interests, but also prefer Social and Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $46,230 with most people making between $27,860 and $66,020

Outlook

1.86%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 2,360 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,800 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 44 openings due to growth and about 26 replacement openings for approximately 70 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education