Questions on how to become the 1st assistant

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Jessica in Houston, Texas

81 months ago

What do you have to in order to be the 1st assistant? I am trying to get into the surgical tech program at Houston Community College. Dose anyone have any adive on the college or the best hospital do to hrs at? I was thinking Memorial Herman-Downtown. I am hoping to get on with heart or neuro team I hear those pay more.

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Ashley Clarke in Jacksonville, Florida

81 months ago

To become a first assistant you have to take an additional exam than your CST exam. It is VERY VERY hard. Here in Jax there are only 4 CST/CFA's. You also have to have a certain number of hours worked before you are eligible to sit for the CFA exam.

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AshClarke in Jacksonville, Florida

81 months ago

You really shouldn't correct someone in ALL CAPS, unless you are 100% sure on your information IKE. I am in fact RIGHT, those schools you see are offering CFA prep courses. The Exam for First Assistants is insane as far as difficulty level. Thats why there are so few practicing in the field. They prepare you for the Exam. You do not skip being a CST and jump straight to CFA. Hence the title CSTFA.

It's NEVER a good idea to post inaccurate information on these forums.

FYI if you are correcting someone & you are 100% POSITIVE that they are wrong & you are right it is VERY RUDE to type WRONG... and then give your information. It's ALOT more courteous.

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Jeff in Lavon, Texas

79 months ago

Cindy,

I am under the impression that you need a Dr.'s support to test for this, is that correct? Also, how hard is the test?

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cindy in Austin, Texas

79 months ago

well with each surgery you assist on the doctor signs off saying yes you assisted under his direction.... the test i say is just as hard as the tech test..... well a little harder, but with the time you put in and good studying , it can be done... and with tech experience that does help.... theres also that suture class which is good to. id say dont go into it blind... it us a challange but it can be done... your role is way more demanding after wards andthe expect you to be just as good as a surgeon if not better.... youve got to be several steps ahead and have more hand than youve got... but once the money starts coming in, the pay off and hard work is worth it...

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Jeff in Lavon, Texas

79 months ago

Thanks Cindy!

By the way, how long were you a Surg Tech, how'd you like it? And did you have a hard time finding a job once you graduated?

I'm starting Surg Tech school in Sept. and am completing Microbiology Tuesday of next week.

I have a lot of questions and am having a difficult time getting answers. If you don't mind please email me at jeff@jeffkirkwood.com

Thanks again!

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cindy in Austin, Texas

79 months ago

had an extremly hard time finding a job!

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Dennis Marrero in Houston, Texas

78 months ago

I am looking for a partner for my office. I am the owner of a surgical Assistant company in Houston, Texas. My cell is 713-898-5424. Also see website www.saogh.com, I am in the process of moving my office off 290.

Dennis Marrero, C.S.T., C.F.A.-O.S., L.S.A., O.P.A.-C
Surgical Assistants of Greater Houston
Houston Surgical Assistants, L.L.C.

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Jessica in Port Jervis, New York

78 months ago

I have been a surgical technician for 5 years now. I took my course from an accredited school. Unfortunately, I never sat for the CST test, because of family situations here and there. I am very interested in becoming a first assist. Living in New york, I believe they dont recognize first assists? Am I correct on that? I am somewhat close to New Jersey, Connecticut and PA. What would I need to do, where should I check out for schooling, also, is first assists recognized in these other states? Any information that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

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edd in Frisco, Texas

76 months ago

Hi there, a foreign MD could go and just take the CFA or CST exam and if passed it could be elegible to work as a CST or CFA?

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cindy in Austin, Texas

76 months ago

no you have to have attended an accredited surgical tech program..

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edd in Frisco, Texas

76 months ago

thanks

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edd in Frisco, Texas

76 months ago

So How can a international graduate surgical assistant or any other foreign OR operative get the certification?

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ConcordeTech in Jacksonville, Florida

76 months ago

By attending an accredited Surgical Technology Program. I suggest visiting the AST website for more info. www.ast.org/

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edd in Frisco, Texas

76 months ago

Ok

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PeachyP in Lumberton, North Carolina

76 months ago

I'm 22 & recently graduated from an accredited school with my diploma in Surgical Tech (JULY 2008), however the area that i live the hospital is not hiring( when they are they want someone who is certified) and the hospitals &/or outpatient clinics that are hiring are 30+ miles away, so i would be loosing money driving back & fourth considering the job i have now is less than 2 mins away & i do make pretty good money for the area that i live in, are there any jobs that i could possibly get as a surgical tech besides in a hospital setting?? Also how hard would it be to become hired as a tech working for an open heart team as a recent graduate?? During my clinical trials i was able to assist w/ guidance in open heart surgery 3 times!!! I understand how big of an achievement that was considering that most people even when certified don't even get a chance to experience that at all. I don't want to loose the education and epically the hands on experience, ANY info is greatly appreciated

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cindy in Austin, Texas

76 months ago

GET CERTIFIED ITS 300 BUCKS AT AST

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djhughes017 in Nampa, Idaho

75 months ago

I think that we need to squash the misconceptions on all of these posts. This is in FACT how you become a First Assistant in surgery. 1. Be a PA-C with surgical training, 2. Be a surgeon yourself (MD or DO), 3. Be an RN with a B.S. in nursing, have two years OR experience and sit for the CNOR exam which will enable you to go through an additional year of school to sit for the CRNFA exam, 4. Have some or no surgical training (i.e., you do not have to be a surg tech) and complete the two year surgical assistant program at Eastern Virginia Medical School and sit for the CSA credentialling exam, there are also CSA programs at Mayo Clinic (MN), Aultman Hopsital (OH), and the military, 5. For CSTs (Certified Surgical Technologists with credential earned from the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting)you must either have two years surgical assistant experience within the last three years, signed affidavits from surgeons and your employer showing you have a minimum of 350 cases completed in that time, be able to gain eligibility and pass the CFA exam. Or you can (and this is the best option in my opinion) be a CST and go through a CAAHEP accredited surgical assistant program. There are ten of them nation wide now. These schools will allow you to qualify for both the CFA and CSA credentials. Different schools have different acceptance requirements and lengths of training. Generally surgical assistant programs require an A.S. degree, two years CST experience, certification from NBSTSA, and shining recommendations. Most are 1-2 years in length. Be careful though of schools that are not accredited that will lie to you to get your money and not be able to TRUELY certify you through an agency that means anything (i.e., don't go through NIFA, High-TEC, or anything not on the list of schools on the CAAHEP website). The only credentials that are recognized are the CFA, CSA and SA-C (SA-C not recognized in all states). Hope that helps clear it up.

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John in Houston, Texas

75 months ago

Anyone know of any accredited schools in Houston texas?

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Whatha hell is in Missouri City, Texas

74 months ago

I am a CST and am considering pursuing the glorious title of CFA however, I don't know if the pay is much better. In fact, I have no idea what kinda cabbage these folks take home? I'd like to know before I start just to see if it will be worth it all, ya know? Thanks

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djhughes017 in Nampa, Idaho

74 months ago

I just got my CFA recently and am interviewing with a hospital that will potentially pay me double what I make now. Some hospitals pay less, maybe five bucks an hour more than a CST, but it is still worth it. If you get a couple of years experience, you can really do well. Once you establish yourself and advance your skill set, the potential is there to make a lot more. It just depends on where you are willing to look for work, and how good you are.

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Steve in Austin, Texas

74 months ago

cindy in Austin, Texas said: had an extremly hard time finding a job!

Hi Cindy, I'm considering obtaining a certificate from ACC in surgical technology - you said you had a hard time finding a job? I was under the impression these jobs were in high demand (as in: www.indeed.com , search "surgical tech"). Do you know why it is so hard to find a job? thanks very much, -Steve

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whatha hell is in Missouri City, Texas

74 months ago

thank you for responding to my questions. I put a call out today for some more answers to questions I have regarding this career path. It's CFA or RN? On the fence right now. Thanks again.

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Jennifer in Saint Louis, Missouri

74 months ago

Jessica in Houston, Texas said: What do you have to in order to be the 1st assistant? I am trying to get into the surgical tech program at Houston Community College. Dose anyone have any adive on the college or the best hospital do to hrs at? I was thinking Memorial Herman-Downtown. I am hoping to get on with heart or neuro team I hear those pay more.

I am a recent graduate and the CFA's I know are all working under a surgeon as their private scrub. I believe that in Missouri, you have to be under a surgeons direction and take additional coursework, although i am not sure where.

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Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas

74 months ago

whatha hell is in Missouri City, Texas said: thank you for responding to my questions. I put a call out today for some more answers to questions I have regarding this career path. It's CFA or RN? On the fence right now. Thanks again.

You can become a CFA in about a year vs. the time it will take to become an Rn and have the potential in Tx to make twice to three time what an RN does. Seems to me there wouldn't be much question.

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Scrubnurse in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

I've been in the OR for nine years, the first 4 years as a CST, the last five as a RN. When considering nursing school, I have a bit of advice, don't expect a huge increase in salary. In 2004, when I graduated with my nursing license, my pay rate increased $3 from $18.50/hr as a CST. Needless to say, I was crushed that I would not make more. However, now, with 5 years experience as a RN, and those very important 4 years as a CST, I make over 70k a year. What's very important in any field, is to stay on top of your game. If there is a certification to be had, get it. It really will give you an edge. You can never have too much education in the health care field.

Good Luck!

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sunshine in Jacksonville, Florida

73 months ago

Ike in New Orleans, Louisiana said: WRONG.. they offer CFA schools now you can go directly to and skip the CST process and the whole getting a certain amount of hours under a sponsor surgeon. Jessica just look up CFA schools.. they are very limited and i dont think there are any in texas though. I too am from Houston going out on extern for Surgical tech in 6 weeks.

Sorry, but the criteria is VERY strict for getting into a First Asst Prog. TX requires a license not just a Certification as do several other states, for Techs and 1ST Assists.

I've been a CST/CFA for 25 years. Be careful of the programs you get in to. SOME tell you they are accrediated, well, the School may be but the actual programs ARE NOT.

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sunshine in Jacksonville, Florida

73 months ago

AshClarke in Jacksonville, Florida said: You really shouldn't correct someone in ALL CAPS, unless you are 100% sure on your information IKE. I am in fact RIGHT, those schools you see are offering CFA prep courses. The Exam for First Assistants is insane as far as difficulty level. Thats why there are so few practicing in the field. They prepare you for the Exam. You do not skip being a CST and jump straight to CFA. Hence the title CSTFA.

It's NEVER a good idea to post inaccurate information on these forums.

FYI if you are correcting someone & you are 100% POSITIVE that they are wrong & you are right it is VERY RUDE to type WRONG... and then give your information. It's ALOT more courteous.

You are correct! If he's in Texas he best be prepared to get a license as a Tech and 1st assist. WA also requires a license. I am a CST/CFA 25 yrs exp.

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sunshine in Jacksonville, Florida

73 months ago

Ike in Houston, Texas said: LOL ash clark or whatever you're ignorance is outrageous. I wonder how you even passed your CST training. Ugh I pray for every patient you're in the OR with. Now GENIUS, allow me to educate you since its obvious you're stupid. A First assistant of the surgeon includes but is NOT LIMITED TO any one of the following... a CSTFA (Certified Surgical Technologist First Assistant) , RNFA (Registered Nurse First Assistant) , and a CSA (Certified Surgical Assistant).. ALL of those are FIRST ASSISTANTS.. and CSA AND RNFA's have their own schooling which is about 2 years long..

www.caahep.org/Find_An_Accredited_Program.aspx

www.surgicaltechsuccess.com/surgicaltechfrequentlyaskedquestions.html

Maybe before opening your mouth you should actually read about the profession you're actually in, OR talk to some CFAs, which i've done on multiple occassions. So scroll down about half way through the ST FAQ and try to comprehend that there are multiple ways to become a CFA and that being a CST is not the only option.

SO.. before YOU decide to correct ME on my posts, maybe you should do a little research of your own because its obvious you dont know S#*T. Yeah so about posting INNACCURATE INFORMATION.. perhaps you should heed your own advice first. just my .02

Sorry Ike......I've been a CST/CFA for 25 years. YOU don't understand what you read. The criteria for being a 1st assist...Resident, MD from another country with credentials, CST who's been through an approved program, completed it and taken the NATIONAL EXAM. They've changed the credential process in the past couple of years. Check it out at NSAA, AMERICAN BOARDERS, AST-LCC. Read it closely. You can't get in the program without having a Certification as a Tech or a License somewhere else. Oh, and the Grades.

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Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

Sunshine I need to correct just a few points. Things have changed in 25 years. It is NOT necessary to be a CST to beome a CFA (offered by the nbstsa) or CSA (offered by the NSAA). There are two prerequsites to take Meridian Institute of Surgical assisting's Program, which is by the way the nation's largest assisting program and CAAHEP accredited. The first prerequisite is scrub experience and the second is a college level A&P course. It is just that SIMPLE! Call them if you don't believe me. You can take their program and become eligible to sit for any national certification exam. As for Texas you need to take a CAAHEP accredited program such as Meridian's to gain Licensure. If you call the Texas Medical Licesure Board they will refer you to Meridian. If you are already certified you can become eligible for Licensure in Texas in just a few short months. If you are not certified you can become both eligible for certification and licensure in texas in 12 months or less. Across the country if you have scrub experience you can become eligible for certification and bcome a CFA or CSa in 12 months or less. Don't take my word call the NBSTSA, or the NSAA, call Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting, call the licensure board.

Side note...RN's can take Meridian's course and become a RN,CFA which is the same as an CRNFA but it'll take only half the time through Meridian.

Final point that was made by someone earlier...it IS imperative that you take a CAAHEP accredited program or you are wasting time and money.

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Cynical Panic in Chattanooga, Tennessee

73 months ago

Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas said: Give Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting a call. ( www.meridian-institute.com ) They are the largest program in the country and most importantly they are Accredited.They are an online program that you can complete in 12 months or less and you can do it all from home. I believe you may be right about New York but if you have other options then it's worth it. You DO NOT have to be a CST.

I have a friend who has been a tech for 8 years. She is an amazing tech and all the doctors want to scrub with her because she is just that good. She has been doing Meridian. She also had the CHIEF OF SURGERY as her mentor on all her cases she had to do as the FA and she would tell us every day how difficult it is. All her school work was easy but the actual FA part she said was extremely difficult.

To anyone wanting to be a FA, I would recommend having some teching years behind you first.

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Cynical Panic in Chattanooga, Tennessee

73 months ago

Scrubnurse in Houston, Texas said: I've been in the OR for nine years, the first 4 years as a CST, the last five as a RN. When considering nursing school, I have a bit of advice, don't expect a huge increase in salary. In 2004, when I graduated with my nursing license, my pay rate increased $3 from $18.50/hr as a CST. Needless to say, I was crushed that I would not make more. However, now, with 5 years experience as a RN, and those very important 4 years as a CST, I make over 70k a year. What's very important in any field, is to stay on top of your game. If there is a certification to be had, get it. It really will give you an edge. You can never have too much education in the health care field.

Good Luck!

Excellent advice! Thanks

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Going crazy in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas said: Sunshine I need to correct just a few points. Things have changed in 25 years. It is NOT necessary to be a CST to beome a CFA (offered by the nbstsa) or CSA (offered by the NSAA). There are two prerequsites to take Meridian Institute of Surgical assisting's Program, which is by the way the nation's largest assisting program and CAAHEP accredited. The first prerequisite is scrub experience and the second is a college level A&P course. It is just that SIMPLE! Call them if you don't believe me. You can take their program and become eligible to sit for any national certification exam. As for Texas you need to take a CAAHEP accredited program such as Meridian's to gain Licensure. If you call the Texas Medical Licesure Board they will refer you to Meridian. If you are already certified you can become eligible for Licensure in Texas in just a few short months. If you are not certified you can become both eligible for certification and licensure in texas in 12 months or less. Across the country if you have scrub experience you can become eligible for certification and bcome a CFA or CSa in 12 months or less. Don't take my word call the NBSTSA, or the NSAA, call Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting, call the licensure board.

Side note...RN's can take Meridian's course and become a RN,CFA which is the same as an CRNFA but it'll take only half the time through Meridian.

Final point that was made by someone earlier...it IS imperative that you take a CAAHEP accredited program or you are wasting time and money.

Very Informative Gone fishing,Thank you. Can you tell me if having a License or LSA a Texas thing only? Will this allow you to bill at a higher rate? Can't I just use my RN license? Also, Please tell me which certifying board you would go with when I'm ready to test. Although an RN, I can re certify my CST if needed to test with NBSTSA, But rather not if I dont need to. What about NSAA, are they any better?

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M. Simms in Nashville, Tennessee

73 months ago

Ike in New Orleans, Louisiana said: WRONG.. they offer CFA schools now you can go directly to and skip the CST process and the whole getting a certain amount of hours under a sponsor surgeon. Jessica just look up CFA schools.. they are very limited and i dont think there are any in texas though. I too am from Houston going out on extern for Surgical tech in 6 weeks.

Good luck with your externship. I finished in January, I am working now as a CST in Kentucky. I plan on going back to school but dont know if I want to do the first assistant program or go to RN school.

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ike in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

sunshine in Jacksonville, Florida said: Sorry Ike......I've been a CST/CFA for 25 years. YOU don't understand what you read. The criteria for being a 1st assist...Resident, MD from another country with credentials, CST who's been through an approved program, completed it and taken the NATIONAL EXAM. They've changed the credential process in the past couple of years. Check it out at NSAA, AMERICAN BOARDERS, AST-LCC. Read it closely. You can't get in the program without having a Certification as a Tech or a License somewhere else. Oh, and the Grades.

Obviously you can't. I recently graduated on OCT 17. Passed the Certification exam november 14th. I had a chat with meridian institute in tennessee about the prereqs to becoming a CFA and they made it very clear that you needed to be a CST, in addition to grades, which i graduated with a 4.0, and also a job as a working CST because you must find your own clinical site and well, no one is going to offer you one except for where you work most of the time. And not to down anyone, but seriously, if you can't pass the CST exam.. you surely can't pass the CFA exam. The CST exam was very hard nonetheless, only 2 out of 15 in our graduating class passed it.

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ike in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

sunshine in Jacksonville, Florida said: Sorry Ike......I've been a CST/CFA for 25 years. YOU don't understand what you read. The criteria for being a 1st assist...Resident, MD from another country with credentials, CST who's been through an approved program, completed it and taken the NATIONAL EXAM. They've changed the credential process in the past couple of years. Check it out at NSAA, AMERICAN BOARDERS, AST-LCC. Read it closely. You can't get in the program without having a Certification as a Tech or a License somewhere else. Oh, and the Grades.

Another thing.. If you werent a CST they said you needed to have taken college anatomy somewhere in your resume along with an associate degree. You could also goto EVMS eastern virginia medical school as they are the top CSA/CFA school in the country

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Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

This is a completley FALSE and intended to mislead people. Please do not take the word of anyone on here without checking things out for yourself. You do NOT have to be a CST or certified in order to take Meridian's program, you do NOT have to have an associate's degree. You do need a college level A&P course. This person never spoke to anyone at Meridian. I graduated from there and I was neither certified or had an associates degree. I gave them a call to see if perhaps anything had changed and it hasn't and they assured me that they never would have given such information to anyone. It really isn't very cool to intetionally lie and mislead... people are serious about their future... what do you have to gain by doing this?

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ike in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

i have the fu.cking information packet right here in front of me you cun.t fuc.k.

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Cynical Panic in Chattanooga, Tennessee

73 months ago

from the AMA-Assn.org website - according to them, you do not have to be a CST to take the exam. Now, regarding Meridian...I dunno. Perhaps they will only take CSTs just so their pass/fail rate will be higher.

Best advice for everyone out there...do your own research and dont rely on others. Anyway, here is the info I found:

Educational Programs
Length. Current CAAHEP-accredited programs range
from 10 months to 22 months. Surgical assisting is a
specialty profession that requires specific training
over and above a degree in science, nursing, physician assisting, or
another health profession.

Prerequisites. Recommended eligibility requirements for
admission into a surgical assisting program are:
• Bachelor of Science degree (or higher)
Associate degree in an allied health field, with 3 years of recent
experience
• CST, CNOR, or PA-C, with current certification
• Three years of current operating room scrub and/or assisting experience
within the last 5 years
• Military medical training with surgical assistant experience
• Proof of liability insurance
• Current CPR/BLS certification
• Acceptable health and immunization records
Computer literacy
• Students also must be able to show proof of successful completion
of basic science (college level) instruction, including:
• Microbiology
• Pathophysiology
• Pharmacology
• Anatomy and physiology
• Medical terminology
Curriculum. Course content includes:
• Advanced surgical anatomy
• Surgical microbiology
• Surgical pharmacology
• Anesthesia methods and agents
• Bioscience
• Ethical and legal considerations
• Fundamental technical skills
• Complications during surgery
• Interpersonal skills
• Clinical application of computers
Students must possess a working knowledge of operating room fundamentals,
including aseptic principles and techniques, before
moving on to the advanced levels of the program

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Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

ike in Houston, Texas said: i have the fu.cking information packet right here in front of me you cun.t fuc.k.

This reply should be enough for people to realize this isn't a credible individual and you should ignore their posts. I am pretty sure that Meridian would be interested in your false representation of their program. As I said before don't take anyone's word, check for yourself... you do not have to be certified or have an associates degree to take their program. You need Scrub experience and a college level A&P course ONLY!!

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DivnCait in Queen Creek, Arizona

72 months ago

I already have a bachelor's degree (Applied Arts & Science) but am looking to get into the Surg Tech field. There is 1 program in particular that I'm looking at in AZ but any first-hand experience from a surg tech/F.A. would be greatly appreciated.
Question 1 - there are 2 programs offered at the school. 1 is a 2 yr Associate's degree and the other is a 1 year certification. Do you think a person with just the certification would be qualified enough to sit for the national cert to become a First Assistant?
Question 2 - I've researched local hospitals and not many are hiring for surg techs and I haven't seen anything for 'First Assistant'...is this normal?
Thanks for your input!

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Kamille in Charlotte, North Carolina

72 months ago

djhughes017 in Nampa, Idaho said: I just got my CFA recently and am interviewing with a hospital that will potentially pay me double what I make now. Some hospitals pay less, maybe five bucks an hour more than a CST, but it is still worth it. If you get a couple of years experience, you can really do well. Once you establish yourself and advance your skill set, the potential is there to make a lot more. It just depends on where you are willing to look for work, and how good you are.

Iam a student looking to get into the surgical tech field. I was very excited when I first started looking into this field then with all the negative blogs that were on this site about this field I am becoming more and more skeptical can you be honest with me and tell me do O.R. nurses really put techs through hell with their nasty attitudes and rude behavior. Or is it just because of the situation in the O.R. room that everyone is just trying to get what needs to be done for the patient. I dont want to get into something that will just have me going back to school for something else.

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Cynical Panic in Chattanooga, Tennessee

72 months ago

I rarely post...I lurk alot but I HAD to reply to reply to this.

Unfortunately, everything about the nastiness is true. You have to find a couple of people who you get along with and go cry to them when the day gets to you.

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djhughes017 in Nampa, Idaho

72 months ago

Kamille,

As far as the nurses having bad attitudes - it all depends on the work atmosphere where you get hired. At the hospitals around here, the techs are treated very well by the nursing staff. In fact, at several of the surgical centers in the area, the OR managers are not nurses, they are surgical techs. At my hospital, I am very well respected by all of the nurses. They come to me for advice and with surgical questions because they know that I know my stuff. In most places, the techs carry the OR. Most nurses know next to nothing about the technical aspects of surgery, they are there to take care of the patient. Most nurses do a great job, and it's a vital role that they fill, but they get no surgical training in nursing school. Good surgical nurses work together with the tech and are a team. It is only the bad nurses (the lazy, spiteful, jealous ones) that treat us poorly. Luckily, as the mean nurses get older they are being replaced by a fresh group of RN's from school that are taught to respect the allied health professionals that they work with.

Don't give up on surgical technology because of rumours or blog posts. Like any career, it's what you make of it that counts. This job is not a paycheck, it's a calling. You either have it in you or you don't, no matter how people may treat you.

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gamecocks843 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

72 months ago

Gone Fishin in Houston, Texas said: This reply should be enough for people to realize this isn't a credible individual and you should ignore their posts. I am pretty sure that Meridian would be interested in your false representation of their program. As I said before don't take anyone's word, check for yourself... you do not have to be certified or have an associates degree to take their program. You need Scrub experience and a college level A&P course ONLY!!

I have a question to this reply. How do you get scrub experience without being a CST? I'm thinking about a career change, but my degree was business management so my courses were not science based obviously. I'm getting info from meridian so I assume they will answer my questions but I was just wondering.

thanks

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djhughes017 in Nampa, Idaho

72 months ago

Many Techs in the OR have no formal training. And many more are not certified. In the old days, they would train you on the job. A lot of scrubs went from mopping the floor to working in surgery over night. When I was in school to be a CST, none of my preceptors were CSTs, and all of them were trained on the job. That was in California.

Also, you do not have to be a CST to get into First Assistant school because Surgical Tech and Surgical Assistant are two totally different careers with different training and separate certification. If a school is CAAHEP accredited, they are expected to train you to be an assistant as long as you meet the minimum admission requirements, regardless of your background. Although if you were able to get into Surgical Assistant school with no prior OR experience, it would be a nightmare for you to get through the program. Most programs want two years experience either as a CST, CNOR, or PA-C so that you have some basic knowledge to build on. It just depends on the school.

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Just Starting Out in Brandon, Florida

71 months ago

At my school...our CST program is all inclusive. We are accredited. My course study also goes beyond the "normal" studies. We have separate suture classes to help prepare you for the OR, plus many other "bonuses". When we are finished with our studies we do have the clinicals through a teaching hospital. After our clinicals is when we sit for the boards. It is included in our program, and from what I understand that is not the norm around here. My instuctors (well, 2 out of the 3) are also 1st assistants. From what I gather from them...it is more ideal to become a CST first. Put your time in and in about 4 years (and with all of your requirements met) take the 1st assistant boards. The thought is that on the job is better than taking the class. From what I have gathered (and please correct me if I am incorrect...because I would like to know) hospitals that are teaching hospitals and hospitals that have residents do not normally take 1st assistants. I have also heard that some of these hospitals will take you if you are connected to a certain doctor...like his/her personal assistant.

All I know is that I did months of research before I made a choice on a school. I called all of the major hospitals in the area (6 of them...and they all have different specializations) and they all, hands down, referred me to the school I am going to. Only 2 of them accept 1st assistants without being connected to a doctor. Some of the private offices (for plastics, more so) are more than willing to hire a 1st assistant with proper board certification/licensing.

I couldn't imagine doing any of this with no medical background...especially 1st assistant. I don't see how taking a course could help with out the on the job training. I applaud anyone who can do it...as well as anyone in this field!

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newRN in Houston, Texas

71 months ago

Scrubnurse in Houston, Texas said: I've been in the OR for nine years, the first 4 years as a CST, the last five as a RN. When considering nursing school, I have a bit of advice, don't expect a huge increase in salary. In 2004, when I graduated with my nursing license, my pay rate increased $3 from $18.50/hr as a CST. Needless to say, I was crushed that I would not make more. However, now, with 5 years experience as a RN, and those very important 4 years as a CST, I make over 70k a year. What's very important in any field, is to stay on top of your game. If there is a certification to be had, get it. It really will give you an edge. You can never have too much education in the health care field.

Good Luck!

hi scrubnurse. I just grad as a RN from Denver (ADN)and recently moved to Houston. I CAN NOT find a job,as I have no experience. I have a spectacular academic resume which is of no help. I am now looking into a CRNFA. Do you have any recommendations for me as far as process or institution?

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scrubtechjenn in Kansas City, Missouri

71 months ago

gamecocks843 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina said: I have a question to this reply. How do you get scrub experience without being a CST? I'm thinking about a career change, but my degree was business management so my courses were not science based obviously. I'm getting info from meridian so I assume they will answer my questions but I was just wondering.

thanks


Most likely you aren't going to be able to do so without going to school. In my area, surgical tech school is an 18mth academic program with a 2 month unpaid externship. I graduated in December with a 3.75 gpa and still havent found work..

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scrubtechjenn in Kansas City, Missouri

71 months ago

newRN in Houston, Texas said: hi scrubnurse. I just grad as a RN from Denver (ADN)and recently moved to Houston. I CAN NOT find a job,as I have no experience. I have a spectacular academic resume which is of no help. I am now looking into a CRNFA. Do you have any recommendations for me as far as process or institution?

I too have had problems in my part of the country finding work. I am a CST and am working on my RN. I have considering volunteering a day or two a week in the hospital that I want to work at so that I can get my foot in the door..there are very few positions available here (maybe 2 a month) and then you have all the people with experience competing for the same job you want as a recent grad. Let me know if you have any suggestions!! We are in the same boat!

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