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Become A Surgical First Assistant

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Working As A Surgical First Assistant

  • Getting Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Deal with People

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $44,330

    Average Salary

What Does A Surgical First Assistant Do At Ascension Health

* Positions patient to give best exposure for surgical procedure, using stabilizing equipment when necessary, while maximizing patient comfort and safety.
* Provides visualization of the operative site using appropriate method, including manipulation of tissue and materials, retraction, sponging, suctioning and irrigation.
* Utilizes appropriate technique to achieve temporary and permanent hemostasis.
* Assists with body plane closure, application of wound dressings and securing of drainage systems.
* Contribute to Mission effectiveness by promoting the spirit embodied with the Mission Statement: A.
* Service to the poor
* Support the cause of those who lack resources for a reasonable quality of life
* B. Reverence
* Respect and compassion for the dignity and diversity of life
* C. Integrity
* Inspiring trust through personal leadership
* D. Wisdom
* Integrating excellence and stewardship
* E. Creativity
* Courageous Innovation
* F. Dedication
* Affirming hope and joy in our ministry.
* May perform sponge, sharps, and instrument count according to hospital policy and procedure.
* Participates as a surgical team member in the preparation of the surgical suite according to surgeon's preference cards with appropriate instruments, resources and supplies.
* Works collaboratively with other surgical team members to maintain/update physician preference cards.
* Works collaboratively with team members to support cost containment processes and initiatives.
* All other duties as assigned

What Does A Surgical First Assistant Do At Catholic Health Initiatives

* Demonstrates a commitment to service, organization values and professionalism through appropriate conduct and demeanor at all times
* Adheres to and exhibits our core values:
* Reverence:
* Having a profound spirit of awe and respect for all creation, shaping relationships to self, to one another and to God and acknowledging that we hold in trust all that has been given to us.
* Integrity:
* Moral wholeness, soundness, uprightness, honesty and sincerity as a basis of trustworthiness.
* Compassion:
* Feeling with others, being one with others in their sorrows and joys, rooted in the sense of solidarity as members of the human community.
* Excellence:
* Outstanding achievement, merit, virtue; continually surpassing standards to achieve/maintain quality.
* Maintains confidentiality and protects sensitive data at all times
* Adheres to organizational and department specific safety standards and guidelines
* Works collaboratively and supports efforts of team members
* Demonstrates exceptional customer service and interacts effectively with physicians, patients, residents, visitors, staff and the broader health care community
* Catholic Health Initiatives and its organizations are Equal Opportunity Employers.
* This position requires a criminal background check.
* Therefore, you may be required to provide information about your criminal history in order to be considered for this position._
* Job
* Professional Clinical/Allied Health
* Primary Location
* Daily Schedule
* a
* p
* Scheduled Hours per 2-week Pay Period

What Does A Surgical First Assistant Do At HCA, Hospital Corporation of America

* Performs responsibilities of OR Tech II in addition to the added responsibilities of Surgical First Assistant as described below.
* The Surgical First Assistant performs clinical skills under the direct supervision of the surgeon and practices in collaboration with the circulating RN and other health care team members.
* The Surgical First Assistant provides aid in exposure, hemostasis, and other technical functions that will help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient.
* The Surgical First Assistant is educated in the use of surgical instruments on tissues verses the handling of instruments; the First Assist does not concurrently function as the scrub nurse.
* Essential Job Functions:
* Functions as an assistant in the OR at the direction of the attending surgeon and practices within limitations of preparation and experience while maintaining a safe environment.
* Possesses an advanced working knowledge of operating room fundamentals, to include aseptic principles and techniques in hemostasis, closure of body planes, and visualization of the operative site.
* Applies working knowledge of anatomy and physiology to provide visualization of the operative site using standard protocol to include appropriate packing with sponges, digital manipulation of tissue, suctioning, irrigating, or sponging, manipulation of suture materials (e.g. loops, rags, suturing), and uses proper body mechanics to prevent obstruction of the surgeon's view.
* Assists with permanent or temporary hemostasis and/or during vein harvesting utilizing appropriate techniques as indicated by the surgeon and applying surgical instruments (e.g., non crushing clams, etc.).
* Permanent hemostasis techniques include clamping and/or cauterizing vessels and tissue, tying and/or ligating clamped vessels or tissue, applying hemostatic clips, or placing hemostatic agents.
* Temporary hemostasis techniques include applying vessel loops, applying non-crushing clamps, or applying direct digital pressure.
* Assists with closure of body plane by utilizing appropriate techniques with the method indicated by the surgeon (e.g. sutures, staples, and/or spray occlusive material) utilizing running or interrupted subcutaneous sutures with absorbable or non-absorbable material, or subcuticular closure technique with or without skin closure strips.
* Assists in consistently maintaining the patient's expected physiologic responses to surgery including infection prevention (SCIP measures and practices, wound management, maintaining effective disinfection practices, instrument processing, and sterilization).
* Applies a working knowledge of patient pre-operative deficits, risk for intraoperative injuries, and possible post-operative outcomes to assist in optimal patient outcomes

What Does A Surgical First Assistant Do At Tenet Healthcare

* Provides certified first assist direct patient care ensuring a safe and comforting environment before, during and after surgery.
* Performs complex first assist duties; such as: vein harvest, femoral artery cut-down for access/cannulation.
* Ensures that necessary equipment and supplies are available.
* Participates in clinical quality improvement activities.
* Expert with common positions related to the surgical procedure and able to use the appropriate equipment necessary to provide the position– i.e. minimally invasive cardiac cases or aortic reconstruction.
* Provides hemostasis by clamping blood vessels, coagulating bleeding points, ligating vessels, and by other means as directed and supervised by the surgeon.
* Provides exposure through appropriate use of instruments, retractors, suctioning and sponging techniques.
* Handles tissues as directed by the surgeon.
* Participate in volume replacement or auto transfusion techniques as appropriate
* Utilizing appropriate techniques to assist with closure of body planes.
* Utilizing running or interrupted subcutaneous suture with absorbable or nonabsorbable material
* Utilizing subcuticular closure techniques with or without adhesive skin closure strips
* Closing skin with method indicated by surgeon (sutures, staples, etc)
* Postoperative subcutaneous injection of local anesthetic agent as directed by the surgeon
* Selecting and applying appropriate wound dressings, including the following:
* Liquid or spray occlusive material
* Absorbent material affixed with tape or circumferential wrapping
* Immobilizing dressing (soft or rigid)
* Assists with transferring the patient from the operating room.
* Providing assistance in securing drainage system to tissue.
* Documents required information for quality control standards.
* When not First Assisting, participates and facilitates patient care.
* Provides education to other team members for emerging procedures and assists with development of those processes.
* Example – Endovein Harvest, emergent bring-back or on-pump conversion.
* Assists the department Manager/Director as requested in review and update of department functions and procedures.
* Demonstrates a high level of professionalism including assisting with team development.
* Demonstrates exceptional customer service with all team members, patients and families.
* Participates in performance improvement teams/activities and quality improvement measures within the department

What Does A Surgical First Assistant Do At Kaiser Permanente

* Positions the patient in accordance with the surgeon's instruction.
* Uses standard and specialized equipment to aid in patient positioning.
* Provides the surgeon with appropriate visualization of the operative site using retractors, sponges, digital manipulation, and other techniques according to standards.
* Utilizes appropriate technique to assist surgeon with temporary or permanent hemostasis by providing aid in exposure, hemostasis, and other technical functions that will help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient.
* Performs duties as a surgical technician in all surgical specialties practicing in the ambulatory surgery center.
* Utilizes appropriate techniques to assist with closure of body planes, i.e. sutures and staples.
* Selects and applies appropriate wound dressings.
* Assists with patient transport to and from OR, including from gurney to bed.
* Participates in monitoring quality of care according to professional standards and established criteria.
* Performs other related duties as indicated.
* Must be willing to travel to other ASC within the region

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How To Become A Surgical First Assistant

Surgical technologists typically need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. Certification can be beneficial in finding a job. A small number of states regulate surgical technologists.


Surgical technologists typically need postsecondary education. Many community colleges and vocational schools, as well as some universities and hospitals, have accredited programs in surgical technology. Programs range in length from several months to 2 years, and they grant a diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree upon completion. Admission typically requires a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Surgical technology education includes courses in anatomy, biology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics. Surgical technologists are trained in the care and safety of patients, sterilization techniques, how to set up technical or robotic equipment, and preventing and controlling infections. In addition to classroom study, students also work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on experience.

First surgical assistants may complete a formal education program in surgical assisting. Others may work as a surgical technologist and receive additional on-the-job training before becoming a first assistant.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Surgical technologists must pay close attention to their work at all times. For example, they need to provide the correct sterile equipment for surgeons during an operation.

Dexterity. Surgical technologists should be comfortable working with their hands. They must be able to provide needed equipment quickly.

Integrity. Because they are trusted to provide sterile supplies and quality patient care during surgical procedures, surgical technologists must have integrity.

Physical stamina. Surgical technologists should be comfortable standing for extended periods.

Stress-management skills. Working in an operating room can be stressful. Surgical technologists should be able to work well under pressure while providing a high level of care.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification can be beneficial in finding a job. Surgical technologists may earn certification through credentialing organizations.

Certification through The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting allows the use of the title “Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).” Certification typically requires completing an accredited formal education program or military training program and passing an exam.

Certification through the National Center for Competency Testing allows the use of the title “Tech in Surgery - Certified (NCCT).” Applicants may qualify through formal education, military training, work experience, or other eligibility paths. All require documenting critical skills and passing an exam.

Both certifications require surgical technologists to complete continuing education to maintain their certification.

In addition, many jobs require technologists to become certified in CPR or basic life support, or both.

A small number of states have regulations governing the work of surgical technologists or surgical assistants, or both.

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, the National Commission for the Certification of Surgical Assistants, and the American Board of Surgical Assistants offer certification for surgical first assistants.


Surgical technologists may choose to advance to other healthcare occupations, such as registered nurse. Technologists may also choose to become a postsecondary teacher of health specialties.

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Surgical First Assistant jobs

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Surgical First Assistant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Russian

  • Carrier


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Top Skills for A Surgical First Assistant


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Top Surgical First Assistant Skills

  1. Orthopedic Surgery
  2. Surgical Procedures
  3. Orthopedic Surgeons
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Trained and supervised new personnel in surgery procedures, technical knowledge and orthopedic surgery equipment.
  • Provide surgical technician support for surgical operations ranging from minor surgical procedures to more complex and extensive surgical procedures.
  • Assisted orthopedic surgeons on a part-time basis scrubbing as a first assistant Ensure patients are properly prepared for each surgical procedure
  • Assist on hands, foot and ankle and all upper extremities including trauma and taking call.
  • Circulate, scrub and assist on Georgetown urology surgery cases.

Top Surgical First Assistant Employers