Post # 1
I have been doing some light research on surgical assistant and was wondering, in your experiences and knowledge, is it necessary/preferred to obtain a nursing degree and then get certified to be a surgical assistant? I have found a few (seven!) accredited surgical first assistant associate degrees, but I’m really concerned that having such a hyperspecific degree might hurt me in the end especially if hospitals prefer to put other doctors and nurses as surgical assistants. Any advice, examples, etc would be really helpful!
Post # 3
Surgical techs (assuming the same as surg. assist) is a separate degree from nursing. Atleast at the hospital I work at, the surg techs only have the requirement of the ST certificate, no RN needed.
Post # 4
I think if you are interested in Surgery, then maybe RN is the right way to go. You need to ask yourself the question, is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? If you were to become an RN, work in the OR, and then decide that you maybe don’t want to work in the OR anymore, then you could always go to another area of the hospital, even still staying in the limits of the OR. ie. PACU (recovery), or branch off into a compleltey other unit. Coming from a nurse, you can do so many things with health care, and you might not want to limit yourself unless you know for sure thats where you want to be and do for the duration of career.
Post # 5
With reimbursement changing, facilities may be more likely to utilize surgical assistants leaving others with more training to do other functions. In the private world (non university setting) it is pretty unusual to see MDs assisting each other anymore, it’s usually an RNFA on rare occasions where an assistant is used. I can also make an argument that some relatively high number of MDs later in their careers may decide to retire sooner rather than deal with all the changes that are coming. I’ve seen ‘retired’ MDs be available to assist. They get all the ‘fun’ in the OR and none of the responsibility and make a little money. So I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some of them available to assist for the next few years.
Surgical assistant does sound pretty narrowly defined and doesn’t sound like it would offer the flexibility of say an RN or PA.
That probably wasn’t at all helpful, but I think lots of things about medicine are very unsettled right now, and there is not crystal ball to know where things are going to land.
Post # 6
Thank you so much for your responses! I wasn’t sure if I was going to get any on this topic since I was asking about something pretty specialized. I think that all of you have great points especially about flexibility. I think now it comes down to whether I have the time and, more importantly, finances to go for nursing bachelor’s or start with the surgical assistant associates and continue on with nursing later. Again, thank you!
Post # 7
Surgical Nurses (Or Scrub Nurses, or Med-Surg Nurses, or OR Nurses, or Peri-operative Nurses) have a much larger scope of practice than a surgical tech/assistant. It depends on how involved your want to be in patient care and what type of limitations you chose to have.
Post # 8
I would go with an RN degree. It has a much larger scope and you can focus on surgery from there and be a scrub, peri-operative, circulating nurse, OR nurse, or even post-operative nurse. Also, if you get tired of surgery, you can move on to soooo many other fields of nursing. I currently work in a post-op cardiothoracic floor and I’ve had some coworkers go to to OR nursing easily.
Post # 9
Scrub techs don’t get to do much, the.person with their hands.in the body is the surgeon and a nurse, a scrub tech usually preps and then does counts and such. Personally the OR was super boring and having such a specific degree will be an issue if you decide you want to don something else. An associate’s level RN is to me actually better than a BSN RN (after having just finished my BSN). Unless you plan.on going on for a masters jn practice there is no difference and it’s two years less school. Especially since it sounds like you are going back to school so you can get into working sooner. My charge nurses and several of the managers are ADN level nurses.