They arrange the equipment, instruments, and supplies in the operating room according to the preference of the surgeons and nurses. During the operation, they adjust lights and other equipment as needed. They also assists by counting sponges, needles, and other instruments used during the operation, by handing instruments and supplies to the surgeon, and by holding retractors and cutting sutures, as directed. They maintain specified supplies of fluids such as saline, plasma, blood, and glucose and may assist in administering these fluids. Following the operation, they clean the operating room and wash, and sterilize the used equipment using germicides, autoclaves, and sterilizers. However, in larger hospitals these tasks are done by housekeepers and other central service personnel.
It can be noted that the origin of surgery goes all the way back to prehistoric times. Ancient people all over the world probably used sharpened flints and other sharp edged devices as their first surgical instruments. With these instruments, they attempted primitive operations such as trephination (removing circular pieces of the skull to treat epilepsy and other brain disorders), draining abscesses, bloodletting, and removing cataracts. As people learned to make tools of bronze and iron, newer and better instruments (such as needles and scissors) were developed, and more difficult operations were attempted. The art of surgery was further refined by the ancient Greeks and Romans who practiced surgery with such skill and cleanliness that infections following surgery were relatively uncommon.
Responsibilities of a Surgical Technician
The responsibilities and activities of surgical technician’s volunteer jobs vary considerably from one part of the country to another, from one hospital to another, and even from one part of the hospital to another, depending on whether the technician works in an operating room, an emergency room, or a hospital delivery room. Surgical technicians usually work under the supervision of a registered nurse or a senior surgical technologist.
In general, the work responsibilities of surgical technicians’ volunteer employment may be divided into three areas: preoperative, operative or intra-operative, and post operative. The surgical technician is usually the first person to scrub in for a surgical procedure. The term ‘scrub’ comes from the first activity of surgical teams in which they literally scrub their hands and arms before putting on their sterilized gowns and gloves. Sometimes surgical technicians are required to position the patient on the operating table and to wash, shave, and disinfect the surgical area of the patient.
Part of their volunteer careers in the medical field, the surgical technicians assist the surgical team by passing instruments and supplies to the surgeon as requested, holding retractors, and cutting sutures. Technicians adjust lights and other equipments as directed. They may assist in administering blood, plasma or other kinds of injections and transfusions. Sometimes the surgical technician is given other responsibilities. During surgical procedures, someone in the operating room must sere as a circulator. This person, although appropriately capped and masked, is not scrubbed to assist at the table. However, when supplies or additional equipment are needed, the circulator is the person who supplies them. When the anesthesiologist needs assistance or supplies, the circulating technician is there to render this assistance also. Surgical technicians also help prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens (including samples of tissues and organs) taken during the operation and help apply dressings. They may operate sterilizers, lights, suction machines, diagnostic equipment, and other operating machines. Another responsibility of surgical technicians may be to weigh blood-soaked sponges to determine the amount of blood a patient has lost.
Also part of their volunteer job, the surgical technician is sometimes asked to assist with the application of postoperative dressings and to help the team transfer the patient from the table to a stretcher and from the stretcher to a bed in the recovery room. When the transfer is completed, the technician takes all of the equipment, instruments, and linen to the clean-up area of the operating room suite. Surgical technicians should possess good manual dexterity, as they are frequently required to handle awkward surgical instruments with speed and agility. In addition, they should have good physical stamina so that they are able to stand throughout long surgical procedures. Surgical technicians usually begin work as assistants in operating rooms and delivery rooms. With increased experience, they can advance to positions as assistant operating room administrators or assistant operating room supervisors.
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