Bill Proposes Education Standards for Surgical Technologists

In February, a lawmaker in California introduced legislation which would establish minimum education and certification standards for surgical technologists in the state – good news for students currently enrolled in surgical technology courses. Although many hospitals, surgery centers and other centers currently prefer educated and certified applicants, there are no minimum rules enforced in the state.

Under the bill, a California health facility would be prohibited from employing or contracting a surgical technologist to practice surgical technology at the facility unless they have specified training or certification, or has practiced at a health facility at any time since January 1, 2013. Under the bill, there is one exception: if management documents its inability to recruit enough surgical techs that meet the proposed requirements, individuals who do not meet the requirements may be legally employed.

Influenced in part by an increase in surgical site infections, a common problem in California hospitals, the bill aims to promote safety in the surgery room. Currently, surgical technologists are the only health care professionals engaged in surgical recognition without recognition of their profession. Certification requirements won’t raise health care costs, and will greatly improve quality of care.

Eight other states have adopted minimum requirements, including Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.