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Surg Tech "High Demand Expert's" SurgicalTechSuccess
October 16, 2006


---PLEASE NOTE: To visit any webpage link mentioned in this newsletter, simply copy and paste it in your browser.---


In today's Newsletter:

~"High Demand" Expert~

~Clamp simplifies Heart Surgery~

~Give Me A Break!

~Links, Updates, & Reminders~




In the past few newsletters I've mentioned once or twice about a couple of "High Demand" surgical specialties in regard to traveling and surgical technology in general.

While there are a few "High Demand" surg tech fields to think about, I'm going to give you the "top 10 basic skills" list for one of my favorite.

AND as many of you know, I highly recommend Orthopedics as an excellent surgical tech resume booster.

Not only is it fun, but you, as a scrub tech, can very often "get your hands dirty".


BUT, before my "by the book" friends out there start getting edge-eee about me telling you (as a tech) about "getting your hands dirty", MAKE SURE you are not breaking any laws, policies, rules, or regulations by "getting your hands dirty" and drilling, sawing, or cutting on a bone.

If you really want to play it safe; verify your "Scope of Practice" with the facility you are scrubbing in, and/or become a First Assistant, Surgical Assistant, RNFA, PA, or M.D.. This way you know you will most likely be working within your "realm" (legally speaking).

Here's an excellent resource for first assisting information: National Institute of First Assisting ( )


***OK then, back to my point.

Now, many of you may be wondering how to get good enough at orthopedics in order to sell your orthopedic skills, become an expert, and increase your marketability.

WELL, here are a few pointers & tips that you may want to think about.

Whether you're a new grad or seasoned veteran looking for a few TOP BASIC ORTHO SKILLS, ~here you go:

~ Robert's Top 10 Basic Ortho Skills ~

--1) First of all, DO NOT be intimidated by the large setups, the power instruments, the extra mayo's, the extra back-tables, or all of the banging, sawing, shaving, space-suits, bone cement, fracture tables, splints, spica casts, etc...

Learning Orthopedics is just like learning any other service.

You have to give yourself a little time to get some experience, master the basics, and become really proficient.

BUT the cool thing about ortho is the fact that once you become comfortable, you'll probably feel much more comfortable in the other services too.

I say this because of the large set-ups required on many ortho cases like hip revisions, total hips and knees.

These are the types of cases that tend to intimidate some people in the O.R.

--2) Understand exactly what you are doing!

If you are scheduled to scrub on an ACL repair, first understand what ACL means (not just what it stands for) and then make sure you understand exactly what is being done, step by step.

This will require a little effort and research on your part, but it's very simple.

Take out your Alexander's (or surgical procedure guide) and look it up.

Read through the steps & instruments needed.

Then when you start scrubbing the case, you'll see the steps of the procedure are coming to your mind pretty quickly.

--- 2a) Try to avoid developing the attitude of just knowing what instruments will be needed. Believe me, knowing the why's along with knowing the what's will help you become a more proficient & knowledgeable surgical professional.

--3) Remember the 4 basic steps of most BONE work when it comes to plating and screwing:


~depth gauge



--4) Know the difference between the various screws, i.e., self-tapping, compression, lag, titanium, stainless steel, etc.

--5) Know the difference between your fragment sets, i.e. mini - small - large, etc.

--6) Know the difference between I.M. rods, revisions, totals vs bipolars, etc.

--7) Know the difference between cement & uncemented joints.

--8) Know the different type's of fractures, i.e., compound, sprial, displaced, etc.

--9) Know your power equipment, i.e., saws, drills, lavage systems, etc.

--10) Know that you have to get your feet wet and scrub as often as possible on any and all ortho cases in order to get the experience you need to be an orthopedic leader/expert. That includes the smallest carpal tunnel repair to the largest bilateral hip revision.

Listen, I've learned a thing or two scrubbing on a carpal tunnel just as I've learned a thing or two about ortho scrubbing on a knee replacement.

You see, becoming proficient in orthopedics takes experience, education, and a willingness to learn.

***AND here's a little secret, you can apply the theory of the tips above to ANY surgical specialty.

You know, when I first started scrubbing orthopedics, it was rough. I was thrown in on a couple of big cases before I was ready. Fortunately I was thrown in on these cases with ortho docs who had a little tolerance for the newbie.

HOWEVER, if you want to sell your skills as an ortho expert, you should master the basics and start getting familiar with the 10 tips above.

Don't count on the tolerance level of a surgeon, rather fall back on your education, knowledge, and experience.

Arm yourself with the knowledge you need by preparing for all of your cases via your surgical procedure manual (like Alexander's) and AT LEAST be able to talk your way through each step.

You can do it!

Trust me, I was coming off a year of delivering babies- (scrubbing nothing but c-sections)- before I was thrown into the life changing experience of hands on orthopedic scrubbing.

AND I did it by reading, studying, scrubbing, asking questions, and never giving up on myself.

Go for it!!!

Whether you're on the path to becoming an ortho expert, c-section specialist, neuro, general, vascular, plastics, or whatever you're interested in "expert", GIVE IT YOUR BEST and be the best at what you do.

You'll see, the people in the O.R. who are the happiest are really good at thier chosen specialty~

Enough said... :)

Oh by the way, if you really need a little shot (actually a large dose) of motivation and career advice in order to have an extremely successful career in surgery, take a look at the Surgical Tech Success Handbook today.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime, I am always here to help you in any way possible~

Until Next Time~

Your friend,

Robert Prince, CST

P.s. **This is not a "sales ploy", --due to rising production/publishing costs the price of the handbook will be increasing very soon.

Get your copy today:

Surgical Tech Success Handbook:



“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell, statesman



~Clamp simplifies Heart Surgery~

High-energy clamp simplifies heart surgery...

Read the entire story here:


Thank you to the Washington University School of Medicine for the news article mentioned above.




~Give Me A Break!


This week's give me a break segment comes from a Surgical Tech Program Director.

As you will see, I've not revealed the name of said director in order to protect their privacy and not have any of the "higher ups" come down on them for expressing their opinion.

HOWEVER, if you recognize this give me a break moment as being YOURS and you don't mind having your name & location revealed, just let me know.

Now, onward --- I just love it! The respone to this section has been outstanding!!!

Thank you to all who have submitted a give me a break episode.


Submitted from: P.H. , Surgical Technology Program Director

My “give me a break” moments are what I call the “bean-counters” – , so worried about what everyone else in the department is doing, convinced they are the only ones who are working hard – or working at all!

If we all paid attention to our assignments, gave the patient the very best we have to offer, learned something new every day and took care of each other --- wouldn’t that be a wonderful world of work!?



*Give Me A Break and let this message be heard.

If you are one of those "bean counters", focus on your role and responsibilities.

Focus on the patient, the case, and what you need to be doing in order to help the case run smoothly.

Listen, if you have a Give Me A Break Moment, reply to this newsletter, contact our Customer Service Dept, or send me a letter.

Your privacy will be respected!!! (unless of course you want to be known)

We welcome Give Me A Break comments from EVERYBODY in the Surgical World, i.e. students, educators, scrubs, rn's, md's, pa's, sales reps, etc...



Links, Updates, & Reminders



National Institute of First Assisting (You can go to that site and register for a fre'e "Suture & Tying Workshop & Practice Lab")





~~NEW Surgical Tech Job Posted


Surgical Tech Tips & Articles


FRE'E employment tools here:


Surgical Tech Traveler


Surgical Tech Schools


O.R. Nurse Travel Info


The fre'e Questions, Answers, Tips, & Resources ebook is still available for newsletter subscribers here:


Surgical Tech Success Handbook here:

remember the price is going up very soon~


If you would like to order the printed hardcopy edition of the Surgical Tech Success Handbook, the bonus digital download material IS included as digital downloads.





If you have a Surgical Tech position available or know of a facility that is looking for Surgical Tech's, visit the following page for a FRE'E Surgical Tech Job posting.

POST your Surgical Tech position today OR if you know of a facility that is looking for Surgical Tech's, visit the following page for a FRE'E Surgical Tech Job posting.

Currently, there is absolutley no cost to place a Surgical Tech Job - Help Wanted listing on our site.






Thank You! Best Regards,

Robert Prince, CST Author & Certified Surgical Technologist Founder & CEO

Surgical Tech Success Handbook

-FRE'E- Surgical Tech's Questions, Answers, Tips & Resources e-book

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