Anesthesiology/Surgical technician


QUESTION: hello,

I am pursuing a career in the medical field. I'm very indecisive however.
I would like to hear from experienced medical professionals their opinions/experiences.

One of my choices is surgical technician.
I've googled it, but can't really find any personal experiences or anything.

I've *heard* that surgical techs are treated like crap by their peers?
I've heard that if you have "thin skin" you will never make it.
I've heard you have to be willing to be screamed at and talked down to.
Is it really true?

It isn't the surgery part that bothers me. It's the dealing with people part.
I'm a team player, I'm a very nice person, I'm very patient with people. But I also let people walk all over me, and I don't handle being yelled or screamed at.

Should I pass by surgical tech and do something else?
I also considered phlebotomy but I feel like that would be boring.
I attempted radiology, but have been rejected twice. (physiology II whipped my ass 2 semesters in a row.)

ANSWER: Hi Kayla, I'll do my best to answer your inquiry.

In short:

I have worked with many surgical techs of all kinds, and in various settings/environments.  Some excellent, some not.  And this occurs in most any profession.  That being said, I cannot say with certainty that work violence (read: verbal +/- physical (shoving/throwing things/belittling/etc.) doesn't exist, to some degree, unfortunately.  And despite a person's best efforts, they can still be faulted.

Yes, the medical field involves dealing with people of all kinds and types.  Surgical techs rarely interact with patients and families outside of the OR, and to a small degree in the OR, but do have to interact with the entire OR staff, to a larger degree, on a daily basis (surgeon primarily).  And with some, more than others.  Having to deal with difficult personalities can be expected.  Nature of the beast, based on my opinion and experience.

Have you considered shadowing a couple/few professions to see if you have an actual interest, when being right in the thick of it all?

Hope this helps some.  If I can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How would I go about shadowing? I would definitely be interested in that.
Thanks for your response

Well, let me start by saying that shadowing a professional will be up to the facility in which the professional works in/at, as well as the individual you're wanting to shadow.  

For example, at my current facility, they will only allow visitors/shadows, within the perioperative environment, that have either graduated from high school, or are at least 18 years of age.  That parameter might be different facility-wide, along with any other restrictions that may be applicable.  And that's not to say one couldn't be younger, etc.  You'll just have to ask.

For surgical tech shadowing, you might want to contact the nursing supervisor/manager(s) of the department (in this case, the operating room) you wish to shadow.  Perhaps you know someone in the field that could give you a number/direction.

As for phlebotomy shadowing, you might want to contact the manager of the hematology department, or the phlebotomy/lab department.  These two departments might be one in the same.  Again, maybe you know someone in this field to ask as well?

Any other questions, please ask.  I hope this helped some.  


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Dino Kattato MSNA CRNA


Former ICU/ER RN with several years of experience. I can answer questions relating to the CRNA education process, professional issues involved, as well as questions about adult and pediatric clinical anesthesia.


Level I regional Trauma center dealing with simple to complex patient populations of all ages. Experience with general anesthesia, spinal and epidural anesthesia, and total IV anesthesia for all surgical specialties including neuro, ortho, general surgery, vascular, electrophysiology, and VIR, with the exception of cardiac anesthesia. Ambulatory surgery center dealing mostly with ENT, plastics, and eyes (70%:30% peds:adults).


AANA Journal February 2010 Feb;78(1):24-7.


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