What is a Scrub Tech?

CNI College’s Surgical Technology Program is designed to provide qualified individuals an opportunity to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to become a safe and competent scrub tech. Upon completion of the program, graduates of the Surgical Technology Program will be prepared to complete the exam conducted by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA).

The program will prepare students for an entry-level surgical scrub tech position in a variety of health care facilities, including hospitals, medical centers, and public and private surgical centers. With our classroom training, mock surgeries, and externships, you’re closer than ever to becoming a qualified scrub tech with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the professional workforce.

What is a Scrub Tech?
Scrub technicians, also referred to as surgical technologists, assist surgeons in the operating room. Although the primary duties of a scrub tech revolve around providing sterile equipment to the surgeon, scrub techs also help prepare the patient for surgery, transfer the patient to the operating table, sterilize equipment to be used in the surgery, maintain the cleanliness of the operating room, and help the surgical team “scrub in” before entering the operating room.

Scrub Tech Job Description
During a surgical procedure, scrub techs are usually the first team members to scrub in. After doing so, they set out necessary instruments, ensure they’re sterilized, position the patient on the operating table, and arrange sterile drapes ensuring the surgical field is exposed. As each member of the surgical team scrubs in, the scrub tech will help them put on their gloves and gowns. Throughout the procedure, scrub techs will pass the surgeon instruments, sponges, and dressings as needed. They may also retract tissue, apply suction, or assist with suturing.

In addition to their duties during an operation, a scrub tech is also responsible for keeping the operating room clean before and after each procedure, cleaning reusable instruments prior to sterilization, and restocking the supply room with supplies. Surgeons rely on scrub techs to correctly identify the patient, prepare the surgical field via shaving and cleaning, moving the patient to and from the operating room, and keeping records during the procedure.

Scrub Tech Education & Skills
Prospective scrub techs are required to complete a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree program before they can legally work in the field. In many cases, diploma and certificate programs, including CNI’s Surgical Technology Program, may be completed in about a year. Typical coursework includes hands-on training in sterilization techniques, equipment handling, patient care and safety, medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology.

Many surgical technology programs also offer clinical experience, where students are allowed to observe a certified scrub tech in a clinical setting. In some cases, as students advance through the program, they may be allowed to operate equipment in emergency room settings. Students considering an education in surgical technology may wish to consider programs that have are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP.) While graduating from an approved program may not be a requirement for all positions, it may lead to greater overall eligibility.

Scrub Tech Qualifications & Certifications
Many employers prefer to hire scrub techs who are certified. In order to become a certified surgical technologist, students must graduate from an approved program and pass the certifying exam. The certifying exam is offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) and covers the knowledge and skills common to entry-level scrub tech positions in a variety of settings. Practice examinations are provided by the NBSTSA for a fee of $40; these exams are computer-based simulations of the actual examination and are a great way for students to prepare for the exam.