Back to Back Issues Page
Surg Techs ~Struggle in the O.R.?~ SurgicalTechSuccess
December 16, 2007


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


In today's Newsletter:

~Surgical Tech Struggles?~

~Give Me A Break~

~Links, Updates, & Reminders~




Are you a student struggling to get through a specific class or fumbling through your clinicals?

Are you currently working as a new or experienced tech who feels like there is no way to make more money or advance your career?

Have you ever wondered what type of career you can have as a surgical tech after you've been working in the same position year after year?

Whether you're working in the field or just getting started in a surgical tech program there will be times when you may doubt yourself and question whether or not you have chosen the right career.

Believe me, I have been in and around surgery for nearly 20 years and I have gone through just about every scenario you can possibly think of in the operating room.

There was even a time in my life as a surgical tech when I felt like I was just spinning my wheels.

I felt as though being a surgical tech was just like having a job that led nowhere.

It's like I would show up for work by 7am, check my assignment for the day, and then probably start to moan and complain about the surgeon I had to work with or the cases I got stuck with that day.

I would put in my 8 hours (making sure I got all of my breaks), never wanting to do any overtime or take any extra call.

I would clock out at 3:30 and automatically start to dread the next day at work.

It's like I just lost all of the excitement I had right out of school.

I simply felt like I was stuck with one of the worst jobs I ever had.

If you feel as though you are struggling with your career as a surgical tech, or if you are a student and feel like the program you are enrolled in is too hard and you just can't seem to get it, simply realize that most students and working techs have the exact same feelings at one point or another.

It's only human nature to be very excited at the beginning of a new career or training program and then slowly lose that exciting feeling when the reality of work comes into play.

Listen, don't let the reality of studying every night as a student or scrubbing in on difficult cases direct your career in surgery.

Take a small step back every now and then to look at the potential and opportunities in and around surgery -the Big Picture-.

There are more opportunities in the world of surgery as a surgical tech than you can possibly imagine right now.

When I was going through that phase of feeling like I was "spinning my wheels" and not moving forward, I looked for something to change my career path.

I started to look into becoming a traveler. I sent for information from a handul of surgical tech travel companies and before long I was on my way to my first assignment.

Becoming a traveler completely changed the course of my professional career in surgery.

It was a professional move that opened up my eyes to the potential of surgical technology.

Now, I'm not saying that you have to become a traveler in order to be successful in surgery. Working as a traveler is only one of the many opportunities in the field of surgical technology. Traveling was something that really re-sparked the excitement I had at the beginning of my surgical tech career.

If you're an experienced surgical tech who is starting to feel "burnt out", take a look at the surgical professionals you work with everyday.

You are surrounded by resources who can feed you the information you need to advance your career.

Utilize the professionals in and around the operating room.

Talk to the sales rep about what it takes to get into surgical sales.

Talk to the traveler about the life of a travelling surgical tech.

Talk to the First Assistant about how to become a first assistant.

Talk to the CRNA about what it takes to work in anesthesia.

Talk to the instrument repair tech about the opportunities with their company.

Talk to anybody you come into contact with in surgery who may be working in a profession you have interests in.

Maybe you're a student who feels like this is all too much studying, or you can't seem to remember the names of instruments, or you just don't feel like you'll ever be able to get through a mock scrub without a contamination, DON'T WORRY!

Many students have the same thoughts and feelings of not choosing the right program simply because things have become a little challenging.

Don't let these feelings get you down.

Having a challenge in a career is a good thing.

If you look around at some of the jobs people have that don't offer any challenges, you'll see that they also don't offer much room for advancement either.

Talk to your instructors and let them know how you feel. (Instructors usually know what you are going through anyway)

Talk to some of the senior students in the class ahead of yours. (many of them have already been through what you're going through)

Talk to some of your own classmates about your doubts and self-questioning, I'll bet many of them feel exactly the same way.

It doesn't matter if you're a new student or an experienced surgical tech, keep the "big picture" of this field in your mind.

If you're unhappy working in the field, scrubbing on the "same old cases" day in and day out, change something.

It's really that simple!

Decide what would make YOU happy working in surgery.

Maybe you'd be more excited if you became an expert in one particular service.

Once I got involved in orthopedics and spines, got some experience, and did a little reading about orthopedic & spinal procedures, I felt like I found my "niche".

I really fell in love with ortho & spines and learned everything I could about those services.

During cases I would get very involved and assist the surgeon as much as possible, constantly asking questions.

After some time of getting my "hands dirty", I felt so incredibly confident and the feeling of spinning my wheels turned into a feeling of being an important team member and expert resource in the O.R..

Plus, since I found my "niche", I was ultimately recruited by a major spine company to work as a consultant, which eventually led into a very high paying position in the surgical sales world.

Also, think about other areas like becoming a certified first assistant, an R.N., a surgical PA, a private scrub, a traveler, a surgical sales rep, or any other position you have an interest in.

If you're a student with doubts about what you have gotten into, just know there are many opportunities waiting for you after you finish surgical tech school and get into the field.

Don't give up on yourself or your career just because you may have lost sight of the excitement of the "big picture".

There is an entire section of Surgical Tech Career Opportunities in the Surgical Tech Success Handbook:

I know from years of experience what it's like going through the entire "self-doubting" process as a surgical tech in the field and in the classroom.

Talk to your instructors, classmates, co-workers, and the other surgical professionals you meet.

Like I said, there are many opportunities for an individual with a Surgical Tech education.

Whatever you think about, simply lay out a game plan and move forward.

Set a goal and find out what you need to do in order to accomplish that goal.

Don't give up on yourself or your career when things get a little challenging (the struggles) or if you start to feel "burnt out".

Think about what area of surgery you see yourself in and start making plans to get there.

If you feel as though you are struggling as a student or as a working tech, take a look at what's making you struggle.

As a student, maybe you need to form a study group, or make flash-cards to help you study, or stay after class to work on whatever it is that's making you struggle.

As a working surgical tech, maybe you need to specialize in one particular service, or rotate through other services to find your "niche", or maybe even just talk to some of the other surgical professionals who are doing what you would like to do.

You are in control of your career and where it will go.

It's simply a matter of keeping a positive attitude, learning, utilizing your resources, and developing your knowledge with the experience you will get as a surgical tech.

Something to think about whenever you feel like the struggles of being a surgical tech are just too much for you to handle, talk about it.

Talk to the people around you, coworkers, instructors, whomever.

Believe me, we have all been there at one point in our career and you'll be surprised how one helpful comment from a peer can change the direction of your struggles.

If you really want an excellent source of surgical tech information & motivation, pick up a copy of the Surgical Tech Success Handbook with the fre'e bonus material here:

Also, make sure you spread the word about our FRE'E Surgical Tech Success Newsletter:

Stay positive, ask questions, study hard, and keep learning. That's the solid foundation to build from and work your way into becoming an expert in surgery.

Until Next Time~

Your friend,

Robert Prince, CST


Surgical Tech Success Handbook:



A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step...



~Give Me A Break!


If your Give Me A Break moment is published, you will receive a FRE'E personally signed printed edition of the Surgical Tech Success Handbook.

Hit me with your give me a break moment here:



~Quick Reminders~



Make sure you check out the latest job postings here:


A new F'R'E.E' job searching tool here:

AND here

-- look for the following link: "Get a free career assessment and find local jobs. Get recruited by the company of your dreams"


Surgical Tech Success Handbook

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

POST your Surgical Tech position today:

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.






A new F'R'E.E' job searching tool here:

AND here

-- look for the following link: "Get a free career assessment and find local jobs. Get recruited by the company of your dreams"

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 FRE'E Surgical Tech Job posting Details.

Get the fre'e details to place a Surgical Tech Job - Help Wanted listing on our site.






Don't Forget to SEE why the Surgical Tech Success Handbook continues to be a Number One source of motivation, inspiration, and resource for Surgical Technologists on all levels.

Take a look here:

Back to Back Issues Page