By Dan Bump SA-C, CSFA: At first blush this seems like a blog post aimed at surgeons. Don't
get me wrong. Surgeons would benefit greatly from reading this series
of posts. So, do tell all your surgeons about it. It might open the eyes
of some to a better way. But this is really meant for Surgical Assistants
and those who aspire to become Surgical Assistants.
So the question is 'do surgeons really need properly trained Surgical
Assistants?' To get to the right answer, envision yourself as an entrepreneur.
Will you be more successful if you
guess at the needs of your potential clients or if you
know their needs even better than they do? The answer should be obvious to
you. Now, if your client is a surgeon, what does he need? Guessing wrong
could be disastrous to your business. Knowing would be better, don't
Even some surgeons aren't 100% clear on what they need from an assistant.
They may have been without a properly trained assistant for so long they've
learned to make do. But 'making do' isn't the same as getting
what you really need. So, often a surgeon will go to the OR manager to
ask for an 'extra pair of hands.' Is that all a surgeon really
needs, just an extra pair of hands? If you know the real needs of your
surgeons and provide the solutions, you get a very powerful competitive
edge when going after more business as a freelance surgical assistant
or going after that higher paying surgical assisting job.
An extra pair of hands can hold retractors, suction, and cut suture. Believe
it or not, at ACE we still hear of hospitals that pull in the janitor
to scrub in and be the extra pair of hands! A properly trained Surgical
Assistant is so much more. He helps the surgeon be the best he can be,
makes the surgeon look good, makes the case run more smoothly, keeps the
surgeon out of trouble, and influences better patient outcomes. Wow! What
a huge difference. If you were the surgeon, which person would you choose?
Most likely a properly trained, professional Surgical Assistant.
Here is one example of how you can help your surgeon be the best he can
by helping him focus . Start with this one key insight. Surgeons are very judgmental. You know
this. They have to be in order to protect their patients. On their first
case with you, they watch your demeanor and your surgical performance.
The surgeon will make one of two judgments. One is, 'Great! I wander
what else I can let this person do?' That is what opportunity looks
like. The surgeon liked what he saw and wants to give you a chance to
show him more of what you are really made of.
On the other hand, what if you don't perform well? What if you don't
look like you know what you're doing? What if the way you perform
surgical skills seems strange or odd? He may kick you out of the OR or
insist you're never assigned to his room again. But usually, he'll
just treat you like an extra pair of hands – only let you do things
less likely to do harm. Still, in order to protect his patients from you,
he'll keep one eye on what you're doing and one eye on what he's
doing. This split attention is where mistakes happen (think texting and
driving). As a properly trained Surgical Assistant, you can earn his trust
so your surgeon can focus like a laser and keep both eyes on performing
the surgery. The surgeon won't do just 'good work.' He'll
get to 'be his very best surgeon-self' for every patient under
You get to be a difference maker.
In my next post, I am going to discuss, not my program or other programs,
but what kind of training you would need if you are going to be the kind
of assistant who can help the surgeon be his best, make him look good,
make the case run smoothly, keep your surgeon out of trouble, and influence
better patient outcomes. Most surgeons wouldn't be able to teach you
all these lessons. But the lessons will be in upcoming blog posts and
you'll be in a much better position to decide what
you need to advance your career whether you are already assisting in surgery or
you want to in the near or distant future.
I want to say sincerely that I look forward to any comments you may add
to this blog based on your interest in the subject, your special expertise
or experience, or your need for any clarifications. You'll help me
grow as a surgical assistant blogger and I'll be able to be my very
best self for you. Let's make this a conversation that we'll all
enjoy, learn from, and keep us always looking forward to the next one.
Are you interested in becoming a surgical assistant? Contact
ACE Surgical Assisting today to
request more information and to learn more about advancing your career.