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Surgical Tech Basics - SurgTechSuccess
November 21, 2005

Recently I've been asked by many Surgical Tech professionals if surgeons around the country do things differently.

Well, as many of you know during the nearly 20 years I spent in and around surgery,I was a Surgical Tech Traveler for 5 of those 20 years.

I worked in small community hospitals and large teaching medical centers.

My surgical tech travelling took me from the East coast to the West coast and just about everywhere in between.

So, based on my experience working with many different surgeons in many different states, the answer to whether or not surgeons do things differently around the country is Yes and No!

Now, don't let this answer confuse you because it really is quite simple.

You see, as the experienced techs out there know, surgeons have specific preferences.

If you work with a general surgeon doing a hernia repair, that surgeon will want certain retractors, or clamps, or suture, or mesh, etc.

Now, you might do a hernia repair with a different surgeon and wonder why they seem to use different retractors (a self retaining vs a hand held), or different clamps, or even different suture with no mesh.

Simply based on the specific preferences, you will see that surgeons do procedures differently than other surgeons in the same service or specialty.

The fact that surgeons have different preferences and different approaches for the exact same type of surgery, explains the "Yes" part of the "Do surgeons around the country do things differently?".

However, the "No" part of my answer is because surgeons of all specialties and services follow the exact same basic steps in every case no matter which part of the country they work in.

Think about the basics:

~Skin incision


~Diagnose/Repair or Remove


Those are the extreme basics.

Obviously there are other steps to each of the basic steps listed above, but the basics are the basics no matter where you work.

Once you learn and master the basics, you'll quickly discover a hip replacement is a hip replacement, a cholecystectomy is a cholecystectomy, a crani is a crani, etc... anywhere you scrub.

Look at each case as having 4 basic steps, you'll pick up the preferences as you get to know the surgeons.

I've seen so many surgical techs get all nervous about scrubbing a case with a surgeon they've never worked with before (especially if that surgeon is known to be difficult).

Sometimes the tech will even try to get out of the case or ask to switch with somebody else.

Don't let this be you!

Master the basics and you will see that every single case has those 4 basic steps I mentioned above.

Once you know the basic steps in surgical procedures, just go over the basics in your head before every case.

You'll pick up on surgeons preferences in due time.

Believe me, as a travelling surgical tech, you are expected to be good at scrubbing and you have to prove yourself very quickly.

The way I managed the assignments I did at every single different facility was to simply assure myself that I know the basics.

It didn't matter to me if I was using a Knee system, Laparoscope, Spinal tray, or anything else that I may have never seen before.

Nope, I always told myself to "bring it on"!

Yep, I know the basics of the services I specialize in like I know my glove size.

You'll see in time that the basics are the basics everywhere you go.

The approach and instruments might be a little different based on surgeon preferences but the basics will never change.

Don't overlook mastering the basics in any service.

Be confident about your knowledge of surgical procedures.

Just remember, every single surgical professional out there had to learn the basics before they could add there own style to those exact basics.

If you are unsure about the basics, study up on them and talk to your surgical peers.

The operating room is an incredible place to learn.

You'll work with educators every single day who are always willing to share their knowledge of surgery.

Take advantage of your position and never overlook the basics.

Remember, if you have a question about anything related to the field of Surgical Technology, this is the place to ask.

It doesn't matter if you're a student, educator, experienced surgical tech, or just thinking about it, go to the following page and ask away.

Your question and answer to your question will be posted on our FAQ page as soon as it is launched.

AND, 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.

Thank You! :)

Until next time~

Your friend,


To check out the complete Surgical Tech Success Handbook and bonus material, go to:

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