Education for a Surgical Assistant

Written by sheena binkley
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Surgical assistants, or first assistants, provide support in various surgeries under the direction of surgeons, nurses and/or other surgical staff in a hospital or medical clinic. Surgical assistants perform numerous procedures, including preparing the operating room, assembling surgical equipment and disinfecting rooms and sites. To become a surgical assistant, an individual can enrol into a one-year program that will help prepare him for a surgical assistant certificate. To qualify, many colleges and universities require that students already have experience as a surgical technologist, physician assistant or operating room nurse, as well as an associate degree in allied health or a bachelor's degree in science.

Principles of Surgical Assisting

A Principles of Surgical Assisting course gives an overview of the duties surgical assistants perform on a daily basis. With this course, students will know the proper technique for positioning patients before surgery, skin preparation and appropriate markings for surgical procedures. Prospective surgical assistants will also learn the proper procedures to assist physicians and nurses with tissue handling, suctioning, suturing and dressings in a surgical setting.

Applied Surgical Assisting Concepts

Students in an Applied Surgical Assisting Concepts course will learn the basics of patient care by understanding the techniques associated with surgical and laboratory procedures. Concepts learnt in this course include catheterisation, knowing how to read laboratory results, EKG, advanced pharmacology concepts, diagnostic testing and how to cover specific wounds. Handling operative emergencies are also covered, as well as handling critically ill patients during various surgeries.

Special Topics in Surgical Assisting

Special Topics in Surgical Assisting explores the legal and technical aspects of the medical field and the role surgical assistants play in the industry. After completing this course, students will have covered the elements of legal issues in the medical field, an introduction to billing and coding, and legislation associated with medical rules and ethics.

Surgical Anatomy

A Surgical Anatomy course investigates the structure of the human body and the various functions associated with the body. Through the use of dissection of multiple body parts, including the abdomen, head, neck and pelvis, students will learn how to properly dissect body parts through demonstrations and lectures.

Surgical Assisting Clinicals

This area of the surgical assisting program will give students the opportunity to apply the skills they learnt in their courses in a real-world setting by going into clinical trials with real patients. With the help of a clinical instructor, students will be able to practice their abilities through certain areas of practices that students are interested in pursuing, including orthopaedic GYN/GU plastics, reconstructive surgeries, ENT and cardiothoracic cases. After clinicals, students are able to apply for the certification exam to become a licensed surgical assistant.

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