An interview with Amy Smith, a surgical/operating room technician in Round Rock, Texas who has been in the business for over twenty years.

Q: What education have you received that qualifies you for your job as a surgical technician?

A: I went into the Army and took a 16 week course that was divided into two parts. General medical orientation (four weeks), then book work to learn instrumentation and sterile technique (six weeks) and finally on-the-job training, which included scrubbing with another technician for six more weeks. The civilian schooling is two years. It was very fast and furious. Learn as you go.

Q: What do you like about being a surgical technician?

A: Everything. Helping people. Being right there in the middle of everything and seeing how it all works.

Q: What do you dislike about being a surgical technician?
Standing all day in one spot and holding retractors, unable to move.

Q: Can you give us a description of a typical day in the life of a surgical technician?

A: Depending on the size of the hospital and caseload, you will scrub several different surgeries per day. If lucky, you like the surgeon and service you are working on. The only breaks are for lunch and if you are lucky between cases. Don’t get me wrong; I love it!!!

Q: What do you think your next step will be in your career field?

A: I would like to get my certification and continue to be a scrub tech.

Q: What previous job history has prepared you for your current job?

A: None that I can think of unless you go back to high school, when I worked with children in a daycare. Surgeons are like children in that they have to have it their way.

Q: What traits and qualifications does a person need to have in order to be successful as a surgical technician?

A: Patience, tolerance and the ability to take orders and be a team player.

Q: Would you recommend this job to someone else? Why or why not?

A: Yes, I would. I would highly recommend this job. It is great to be a part of the overall solution and to see how the human body works.

Q: What training or education program might be beneficial for moving your current career forward, if any?

A: If I could change how I got my training I would have gone to a civilian school and taken the certification test straight out of school. There are many things on the test that you do not do in your job and the memory fades.

If being a surgical technician is something you’re interested in, check out our list of schools in Texas offering surgical tech training.