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The Surgical Technologist is a member of the operating room team. This team can consist of the surgeon(s), circulating nurse and anesthesiologist. The surgical technologists work under the authority and supervision of the surgeon, unless prohibited by hospital policy or state law.

First scrub role is the primary role of the Surgical Technologist. Prior to the operation the Surgical Technologist helps prepare the operating by setting up sterile surgical instruments, supplies and equipment, such as gowns, gloves, drapes, suction tubing and receiving solutions and medications from the circulator. The Surgical Tech will assemble the sterile equipment and check that all instruments and equipment is working properly and make necessary adjustments.

The Surgical Tech will help the surgeon put on the gloves and gowns and assist the surgeon in placing the sterile drapes on the patient in order to create a sterile field. The Surgical Tech, during the surgical procedure, is responsible for anticipating the needs of the surgeon by passing correct instruments and providing needed supplies such as sponges, keeping counts of the instruments and sharps, providing medications and solutions to the surgeon, receiving tissue specimens to be passed off to the circulating tech and ensuring there are no breaks in the sterile technique to prevent patient from acquiring an infection from the surgical procedure. The Surgical Tech may assist other team members with terminal cleaning of the room and assist in preparing the room for the next patient.

Surgical Tech may sometimes fill the role of assistant circulator is allowed by hospital policy and/or state law. In the role of assistant circulator the Surgical Technologist may assist in transporting patients to the OR, help position the patient on the tables and prepare the patient for surgery by shaving and disinfecting sites where incisions will be performed. During the surgical procedure the tech may assist with obtaining additional supplies for the scrub surgical tech, such as sponges or sutures, helping with counts, replacing full suction containers, providing sterile dressings and assisting with moving the patient from the OR table to the stretcher for transport to recovery. The Tech may assist with opening sterile supplies, checking patient charts, identifying the patient, and verifies that proper consent forms have been signed. Assisting anesthesia personnel, positioning patient, assessing comfort and safety measure and providing verbal and tactile reassurance to the patient may be additional duties of the circulating surgical technologist.

In the OR the work environment may become warm under the surgical lights while wearing sterile gown and gloves. When not working the OR the Surgical Technologist normally works in a well-lighted, clean and cool environment. The Surgical Technologist may be required to stand for long periods and must remain alert and attentive during operations. There could be exposure to unpleasant sights, materials and odors as well as communicable diseases.

The Surgical Tech may have “on call” duties which could be weekends, nights or any time when there is an emergency such as a car accident, pregnant mother requiring a C-section, or any other such event requiring surgical intervention. 

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