Life As a Surgical Assistant
Position Description 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.
Surgical Assistant Responsibilities
- Assist in volume replacement or autotransfusion techniques.
- Assess skin integrity or other body conditions upon completion of the procedure to determine if damage has occurred from body positioning.
- Prepare and apply sterile wound dressings.
- Gather, arrange, or assemble instruments or supplies.
- Coordinate with anesthesia personnel to maintain patient temperature.
- Incise tissue layers in lower extremities to harvest veins.
What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Surgical Assistant?
When polled, Surgical Assistants say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
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.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Other Surgical Assistant Job Titles
- Clinical Assistant
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Surgical Assistant-Certified (SA-C)
- Surgical First Assistant
- Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)
What Kind of Surgical Assistant Job Opportunities Are There?
There were about 127,800 jobs for Surgical Assistant in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,100 new jobs for Surgical Assistant by 2026. The BLS estimates 11,000 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Surgical Assistant are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Rhode Island, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
What is the Average Salary of a Surgical Assistant
Surgical Assistants make between $28,130 and $72,720 a year.
Surgical Assistants who work in New Mexico, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Surgical Assistants in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$54,210|
What Tools do Surgical Assistants Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Surgical Assistants:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Word processing software
- MEDITECH software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
- Palm OS
- Patient tracking software
- Nursing documentation software
- Patient scheduling software
- Supply documentation software
- Surgery workflow communication software
Becoming a Surgical Assistant
Individuals working as a Surgical Assistant have obtained the following education levels:
What work experience do I need to become a Surgical Assistant?
Where Surgical Assistants Work
The table below shows the approximate number of Surgical Assistants employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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