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Surgical technologist in scrubs prepares surgical instruments. Text reads: The Crucial Role of a Surgical Technologist. Headshot Image.png
Texas Children’s Hospital

The Crucial Role of a Surgical Technologist

Few jobs are more important to the seamless execution of procedures in the operating room than a surgical technologist.

When it comes to pediatric surgery, teamwork is the cornerstone of success. Each member of the surgical team contributes to the collective effort. At Texas Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s leading pediatric health care institutions, our surgical techs are integral. They help deliver the highest standard of care for our patients.  

As we open the doors to professionals seeking a meaningful career, let’s explore the distinctive responsibilities, educational journey, and impactful contributions of surgical technologists.  

What is a Surgical Technologist?  

Surgical Technologists assist surgeons, nurses, and anesthesia professionals during surgical procedures. Other names for surgical technologist are scrub tech, surgical tech, or surgical technician. Their primary objective is extending a skilled hand, passing necessary instruments to the attending surgeon throughout a procedure so they do not have to take their eyes from the operating field. 

An important member of the patient care team, surgical technologists also use their expertise to help their team carefully plan and perform surgeries.  

“Exceptional surgical techs go above and beyond, anticipate the next steps in procedures, ensure case carts have all their needs for the case and bring positive energy to the operating room,” says OR Nurse Tyshonique Mayes.  

Surgical technologists use anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological knowledge and apply aseptic techniques to enhance outcomes for pediatric surgical patients. Many bring specialized skills to the operating table in fields like cardiac or neurosurgery, or in robotic surgery technology.  

Mayes says the synergy among team members in the OR is paramount. “Each person’s contribution is important to the overall task. The OR functions like a family, coming together to prioritize and complete cases, making sure patients receive the utmost attention and care.”  

The Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Surgical Technologist  

Surgical techs carefully prepare the operating room during pre-op. They set up instruments, verify equipment functionality, and ensure sterile solutions and medications are ready. They may also help with patient positioning and other tasks as needed.  

During surgery, techs anticipate the surgeon’s needs while maintaining a safe environment for the patient. They handle sterile instruments and provide crucial support, whether holding organs in place or managing retractors.  

Post-operation, their responsibilities continue. Surgical techs may apply bandages or dressings to the incision site or restock the operating room to prepare for subsequent procedures.  

Surgical techs stand for long periods and lift and maneuver heavy pans of instruments. A typical eight-hour shift can sometimes run over depending on the length of a procedure or staffing. Surgical techs may also be on call to assist with surgeries in the OR after their shift has ended.  

The Benefits of Becoming a Surgical Technologist  

The sense of purpose that comes from contributing to positive outcomes for patients is rewarding for surgical technologists. This is especially true for those who see to the well-being of young patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. Surgical technologists play an integral role in life-changing procedures. They witness firsthand the positive impact their skills have on individuals and their families.  

In addition to patient outcomes, Surgical Technologist Lorretta Idlebird appreciates being part of a pediatric teaching hospital. Lorretta has over 30 years of experience as a surgical tech. For 17 of those years, she has worked at Texas Children’s alongside our surgeons in Neurosurgery. More recently, she has added liver and kidney transplant to her skillset.  

Loretta gets a deep sense of professional fulfillment seeing the residents and fellows she’s worked with become attending surgeons. “I’ve worked with them when they were in training. Just to see them go forward, it really makes me proud.”  

A career as a surgical technologist also presents practical advantages. The demand for skilled surgical technologists remains high, translating into a stable and secure job market. Texas Children’s Hospital, as a leading pediatric health care institution, provides an environment of clinical excellence and offers comprehensive benefits packages. Continuous learning and professional development opportunities are available to ensure our surgical technologists stay at the forefront of medical advancements.  

The Educational Journey and Certification of Surgical Techs   

Becoming a surgical technologist requires education and hands-on experience. In Texas, completion of a two-year surgical technology program is essential.  

Programs typically include in-depth coursework covering sciences, patient safety, infection prevention, and surgical equipment handling. Graduates earn diplomas, certificates, or associate degrees from accredited programs, often followed by supervised clinicals.  

Texas Children’s requires Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) designation by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting or the National Center for Competency Testing. To enhance job prospects and meet state regulations, many surgical technologists pursue such certification. To maintain active certification, they must participate in continuing education. Many surgical technologists engage with the Association of Surgical Technologists for ongoing professional development.  

The Dynamic and Fast-Paced Work of a Surgical Tech   

There are more than 35 operating rooms at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. Our community campuses are home to even more. Each operating room is a hub of activity. In this environment, adaptability is key as procedures vary, and challenges arise.  

In the fast-paced rhythm of the operating room, split-second decisions can impact patient outcomes. A surgical tech’s keen attention to detail as they anticipate the surgeon’s needs contributes to the seamless flow of each surgery. Whether assisting in routine procedures or facing complex surgical challenges, they provide crucial contributions to the operating room’s collaborative dynamics.  

Mariya Kurko is an OR Nurse in our Mark Wallace Tower and is a former surgical tech. She emphasizes that successful surgical techs work hard and possess some unique qualities. “If you choose this job and choose to provide care for patients, then you must have the right heart for it. You must be willing to learn and to accept constructive criticism, work together with others, be observant, and learn new things every day.”  

Loretta agrees. “Be attentive. If you don’t know, ask questions. Have a pen and paper with notes. Be kind and respectful. You will be happy and will enjoy the job if you can do all those things.”  

Celebrating Surgical Technologists Week at Texas Children’s Hospital  

Each year, the health care community honors the invaluable contributions of surgical technologists. Surgical Tech Week is an opportunity to recognize their instrumental role in the success of pediatric surgical procedures. At Texas Children’s Hospital, we join the nationwide celebration during the third week of September.  

Surgical Technologist Jobs at Texas Children’s Hospital   

Texas Children’s Hospital is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country. As such, we have a high demand for skilled surgical technologists. We are currently hiring skilled and passionate surgical technologists for full-time, part-time, and per diem positions. With competitive salaries and benefits packages, Texas Children’s is an attractive place to work for those in the field.  

Apply Now and Be the Difference   

Are you a surgical technologist seeking a meaningful career? Do you wish to hone your expertise in a workplace where your skills are valued? Do you want to directly impact the well-being of children? If so, Texas Children’s Hospital is the place for you.  

Your skills, dedication and collaborative spirit will make a lasting impact on the lives of the children we serve. Join us in delivering the highest standard of care to our patients.  

Visit our careers page, explore the possibilities, and take the first step toward a rewarding career as a Surgical Technologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. Together, let’s continue to Be the Difference – one child, one surgery at a time.