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Surgeons in Operating Room
Surgical Technologists

Physician Assist-FA

Surgical First Assist

Scrub Nurse

Surgical Techs


PACU Nurses

Medical Assistants


Ambulatory Surgical Centers

PACU nurses are highly trained critical care nurses who work in a hospital's post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). They look after patients who have recently had surgery and are recovering from the effects of anesthesia. Most patients are unaware that a specific registered nurse for the PACU is providing their post-op care, but they play an essential role in ensuring patients have a safe and quick recovery. 

What Is the Role of a Surgical Technologist?

Surgical technologists are responsible for preparing operating rooms and patients for surgery and assisting during and after the procedure. 

A surgical technologist is a medical professional who prepares an operating room (OR) prior to surgery. They are an essential part of the surgical care team, working alongside the surgeon, the surgeon's assistants, the nurses, and the anesthesia provider. 

Surgical technologists are surgical assistants, scrub techs, and operating room technicians.

Duties of a Surgical First Assistant

A Surgical First Assistant is known for their exceptional expertise and extensive training, making them the most skilled among surgical assistants. While their specific duties may differ based on the healthcare institution, they are generally equipped with the necessary training and certification to excel in a wide array of tasks, which include but are not limited to:

  • Cauterizing wounds and vessels

  • Packing sponges in body

  • Positioning patient to maintain circulation and access for surgeon

  • Placing clamps and sutures

  • Closing skin with adhesives, sutures or staples etc.

  • Applying direct pressure on veins and tissue

  • Performing or aiding in patient suction, drainage and irrigation

  • Hemostasis: The stopping of excess bleeding and blood flow

  • Immobilizing patients on the operating table

Surgical First Assistant Fields of Specialization

Surgical First Assistants can add to their usefulness and odds of employment by learning the skills to be a specializing surgical first assistant in some of the following specialties:

  • General surgery

  • L&D

  • Neurosurgery

  • Obstetric surgery

  • Cardiac surgery

  • Thoracic surgery (chest)

  • Vascular surgery

  • Trauma surgery/ trauma units

  • Ophthalmic surgery

  • Urinary / Genital surgery

  • Craniofacial surgery

  • Oral surgery

  • Ear, nose and throat surgery

  • Reconstructive surgery

  • Juvenile surgery (and related issues)

  • Geriatric surgery

  • Laparoscopic surgery

  • Automated / robotic surgery

  • Hand surgery

  • Orthopedic surgery

  • Plastic surgery

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