All About Surgical Assistants
Position Description Assist surgeons during surgery by performing duties such as tissue retraction, insertion of tubes and intravenous lines, or closure of surgical wounds. Perform preoperative and postoperative duties to facilitate patient care.
Surgical Assistant Responsibilities
- Verify the identity of patient or operative site.
- Monitor patient intra-operative status, including patient position, vital signs, or volume and color of blood.
- Obtain or inspect sterile or non-sterile surgical equipment, instruments, or supplies.
- Maintain an unobstructed operative field, using surgical retractors, sponges, or suctioning and irrigating equipment.
- Assist in applying casts, splints, braces, or similar devices.
- Assess skin integrity or other body conditions upon completion of the procedure to determine if damage has occurred from body positioning.
Skills Needed to be a Surgical Assistant
When polled, Surgical Assistants say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Other Surgical Assistant Job Titles
- First Assistant
- Surgical Medical Assistant
- Surgical Scrub Technician (Surgical Scrub Tech)
- Surgical Assistant
- Surgical Technician (Surgical Tech)
Job Outlook for Surgical Assistants
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 127,800 jobs in the United States for Surgical Assistant. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,100 new jobs for Surgical Assistant by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 11,000 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Surgical Assistant are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Rhode Island, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
How Much Does a Surgical Assistant Make?
The salary for Surgical Assistants ranges between about $28,130 and $72,720 a year.
Surgical Assistants who work in New Mexico, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Surgical Assistants in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$54,210|
What Tools do Surgical Assistants Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Surgical Assistants:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Word processing software
- MEDITECH software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
- Palm OS
- Patient tracking software
- Nursing documentation software
- Patient scheduling software
- Supply documentation software
- Surgery workflow communication software
How to Become a Surgical Assistant
Individuals working as a Surgical Assistant have obtained the following education levels:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Surgical Assistant?
Where Surgical Assistants Work
The table below shows the approximate number of Surgical Assistants employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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