What is a Scrub Tech?

A scrub technician, often referred to as a surgical technologist, plays a vital role in the operating room, contributing to the smooth execution of surgical procedures. While their primary responsibility is to provide sterile equipment to the surgeon, their duties extend beyond that. Here, we’ll delve deeper into the various facets of a scrub tech’s role.

Scrub Tech Job Description

A scrub tech is an indispensable part of the surgical team, being among the first members to “scrub in” for a procedure. Once they’re sterile and ready, they begin their meticulous tasks. This includes laying out the necessary instruments, ensuring their sterility, positioning the patient on the operating table, and meticulously arranging sterile drapes to expose the surgical field optimally.

As the rest of the surgical team joins, the scrub tech helps them don gloves and gowns, ensuring everyone adheres to strict sterility protocols. During the surgery itself, scrub techs become the surgeon’s right hand, passing instruments, sponges, and dressings as required. Beyond this, they might also be called upon to retract tissue, apply suction, or assist with suturing, all while maintaining a sterile environment.

However, a scrub tech’s responsibilities aren’t confined to the operating room itself. They are also tasked with the vital job of keeping the operating room impeccably clean before and after each procedure. This includes the meticulous cleaning of reusable instruments, ensuring they are prepped for sterilization. Additionally, scrub techs are responsible for restocking the supply room with essential items, and they play a key role in maintaining accurate records during the surgical procedure, ensuring everything proceeds smoothly.

Scrub Tech Education & Skills

Becoming a scrub tech necessitates formal education and a specific skill set. Prospective scrub techs must complete a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree program in surgical technology. Many opt for programs which can often be completed in about a year.

These programs offer comprehensive coursework that includes hands-on training in various critical areas. Students learn sterilization techniques, equipment handling, patient care and safety, medical terminology, and gain in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

Furthermore, many surgical technology programs provide students with valuable clinical experience. This hands-on exposure allows them to observe certified scrub techs in real clinical settings. In some advanced stages of the program, students may even get the opportunity to operate equipment in emergency room settings, enhancing their practical skills.

Aspiring scrub techs should also consider enrolling in programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). While not mandatory for all positions, graduation from an accredited program can enhance overall eligibility and job prospects.

A surgical tech student practicing in a classroom with surgical equipment

Scrub Tech Qualifications & Certifications

For many employers, hiring certified scrub techs is preferred. To become a certified surgical technologist, graduates of approved programs must pass the certifying exam offered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). This exam assesses the knowledge and skills required for entry-level scrub tech positions across various healthcare settings.

Students preparing for this exam can take advantage of practice examinations provided by the NBSTSA, available for a fee of $40. These practice exams simulate the actual certification examination, helping students familiarize themselves with the format and content, ultimately boosting their chances of success.

The Crucial Role of Scrub Techs in the Operating Room

Scrub techs are indispensable members of the surgical team, contributing to the success of surgeries through their expertise in maintaining sterility, assisting surgeons, and ensuring the operating room’s cleanliness and efficiency. To embark on this rewarding career, aspiring scrub techs must undergo the appropriate education, gain the requisite skills, and, if possible, attain certification to stand out in the competitive job market.

How to Become 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.