Nationwide Online Surgical Assistant Training
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Surgical SkillLab

Start Assisting in Surgery Now!

Once you take the ACE 6-Day Surgical SkillLab™ you’ll be well-prepared to start assisting in surgery at surgeon-level.

That means you’ll be ready after 6 days if you are only taking the lab (for PAs, NPs, and Foreign Medical Graduates). Or if you are in the full ACE Surgical Assistant Program, you could be first assisting in as little as a month after enrolling (your clinical internship begins after the lab).

Contact ACE Surgical Assisting to fill out the Request Info form or give us a call at (866) 223-2778.

If you make a good impression on your surgeons, career success is assured. So here is your challenge. As I’m sure you already know, surgeons judge your performance. The very safety of their patients is at stake. Enrolling in our surgical assistant school will better help you with this performance.

Surgeons are key to your opportunities to first assist in surgery. They watch your surgical skills and judge whether you deserve more opportunities to perform or not. Surgeons are governed by the axiom to do no harm. The ACE 6-Day Surgical SkillLab focuses on giving you ‘surgeon-level’ skills and helping you apply them safely and expertly!

  • If you perform surgical skills like experienced surgeons do, they’ll judge it safe to let you perform at the higher-level ACE trains you for.
  • If you haven’t been taught any surgical skills, they must protect their patients from you. This probably means limiting you to tasks less likely to harm the patient, like holding retractors, suctioning, and cutting suture.

The 6-day lab is a big confidence builder. Your new surgical skills will speak well of you, inspire your surgeons to trust you with surgeon-level tasks, and open doors to expanded practice.

Now, you be the judge. Will you be satisfied with training that doesn’t help you pass the surgeon judgment phase of your training and your career? Will less than 6 days of intensive hands-on training and coaching help you reach this goal.

Will less than the 159 surgical skills you get from the ACE Surgical SkillLab help you achieve the success you hope for?

Being an ACE Trained Assistant™ Stands for Something

  • You have at least 159 surgeon-level skills to assist your surgeons
  • After 6 days of practicing and being coached by an expert, you can perform advanced surgical skills by second nature
  • You’ve developed a quiet confidence that inspires trust and confidence from your surgeons
  • You make surgeries proceed safely and smoothly, saving your surgeon time
  • You set the standard at your hospital others aspire to
  • Surgeons get addicted to good help – and that means you! If you aren’t available, they’ reschedule if possible so they can work with their favorite assistants.

In-The-Trenches, Hands-On Training Gives You A Great Advantage

It’s hard to learn from programs created in “Ivory Towers” from a theory that doesn’t work in the real world of the Operating Room. At ACE, we don’t theorize. We’ve been there, knee deep in the trenches of the Operating Room. That is where good, effective training springs from.

If you’ve worked in the OR before, ACE training will strike you as familiar but new. You know which surgeons are the very best and who you wouldn’t let operate on your dog. Our 159 skills and techniques and the many pearls of wisdom come from what we’ve learned over decades of experience from the most skilled and expert surgeons. So, you get an unfair competitive advantage over graduates of other programs.

The “Ivory Tower” approach is to just send you a video to learn from. Or you may get 2-4 hours on a pig’s foot. You may even get a solid day or two of wound closure training. The Ivory Tower believes that a Surgical Assistant just holds retractors, suctions, cuts suture, and closes wounds. If your surgeon wants you to do anything more than that, he or she will have to teach you.

‘In-the-trenches’ training understands surgeons were the ones who first assisted in the past and a proper assisting service must be surgeon-level. The American College of Surgeons states that the ideal Surgical Assistant is a surgeon. So, ACE gives you the wound closure skills PLUS all the same skills a surgeon has. The ACE Trained Assistant can use these 159 skills to first assist in surgery the same way another surgeon would. These are not just skills for the end of the case. They are skills needed to assist for the entire case! They include ligating, dissecting, anastomosing, hemostasis, and many more. And we teach them to you. We don’t leave it to your surgeons.

6-Day Surgical SkillLab

Our decades of OR experience and experience in skills training tells us 6 days of exposure to new surgical skills is the right number. With effective coaching, 6 days is enough to learn our volume of new skills and develop a level of confidence and expertise to perform them well in the pressure-cooker environment of the OR. So, we don’t skimp on the days even though it would reduce our costs dramatically to do so.

One-On-One Coaching

Skillful coaching is vital. Without it, the chances of making the right first impression on your surgeons are greatly diminished.

Here’s the ACE 6-step approach to coaching:

  • Step 1 - See the skill performed correctly, slowly, and broken down into steps
  • Step 2 - Try the skill yourself while you follow video replays
  • Step 3 - Listen to feedback from an expert
  • Step 4 - Hone the skill by applying expert feedback
  • Step 5 - Perform the skill by second nature with muscle memory developed over 6 days
  • Step 6 - Limit the lab to no more than 12 participants so there is plenty of one-on-one coaching time

Real World Applications

We don’t just present a skill and then check it off our list. We spend time with it. We assure you get it right. We assure you gain some confidence with it. Even with all that, when it’s time to perform your new skills in surgery, you could get paralyzed – like a deer caught in the headlights.

Why could that happen and how do we help you avoid it? You can learn skills all day long while sitting at your desk. But then you go back to work and must apply your skills in a variety of surgical scenarios. Any given skill may have multiple applications, each one seeming like a different and unique skill. If you get into surgery and have to figure out just how to apply your skill, it puts you on the spot. Stopping to figure it out gives the appearance you are paralyzed and don’t know what to do next.

Here is an example of skills vs applications. Two hand tying is a skill. Different applications include tying when the strand is away and towards you; tying when the stand is to your right and left; tying to close a wound; tying on a deep structure; tying on a friable structure; tying when you are on the right side of the patient; tying when you are on the left side of the patient; tying off a pedicle when the clamp is pointing toward you; tying off a pedicle when the clamp is pointing away from you; and tying at the same time the surgeon is tying.

You can’t properly learn applications at your desk. You can only learn them while performing surgery like at the ACE Surgical SkillLab. You get to perform surgeries in realistic simulations. Your instructor coaches you through the various applications. Besides just being great fun, you get to work out the applications of your skills in our lab surgeries – not in the pressure-cooker environment of the Operating Room where patient outcomes are at stake.

Talented & Experienced Instructors

Dan Bump developed the ACE 6-Day Surgical SkillLab. As the father of Surgical Assistant training, he created the very first formal Surgical Assistant Program in the country for working surgical professionals.

Dan learned how to assist at a Surgical Assisting agency with an in-house apprenticeship. There were no formal programs at the time. For the agency to maintain their competitive edge and to be successful, they had to send out assistants who were more expert than other available assistants. Training had to give new assistants what Dan Bump would later describe as Up-Front Expertise™. It was the only way to satisfy surgeons who judge (ie all of them).

Dan has an inventor side. At the time, there were no surgical simulators detailed enough to perform surgeries at the level needed to meet Dan’s standard. So, he invented them himself! Now ACE students have highly practical simulators with all the same dissectible layers living patients have.

Dan Bump is a 35-year veteran of the Operating Room and has been delivering Up-Front Expertise to OR professionals since 1990. The good news is he is still teaching! So, at the ACE 6-Day Surgical SkillLab, you’ll only ever get Dan Bump as your instructor or someone he taught.

A Certified ACE Instructor must be expert at the unique teaching methods Dan developed over the years, expertise with the 159 surgical skills, and have the patience of a saint. We don’t believe in the teaching method you see in many surgical residency programs – see one, do one, and get yelled at a lot until you finally get it – or drop out.

Tips and Trade Secrets From Experts

How do we create Up-Front Expertise? 2 ways: 1) deliberate practice and 2) learn what the experts know. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Harvard Business Review agree on what it takes to reach expertise. A phrase they both use is ‘deliberate practice.’ The NEJM article says it isn’t the volume of surgery (surgeons even call it practice) that makes an expert surgeon. It’s deliberate practice.

“Deliberate practice calls for the individual to focus on a defined task, typically identified by a teacher, to improve particular aspects of performance; it involves repeated practice along with coaching and immediate feedback on performance.” That’s pretty much the definition of the ACE Surgical SkillLab!

The second part of developing expertise is to learn what the experts know – their tips and tricks of the trade. Typically, you learn the basics in school and then over the space of many years you pick up the tips and tricks of the trade used all the time by experts in the field. We figured you shouldn’t have to wait for years. So, we put those expert tips and trade secrets right into the ACE lab. Now you can have them when it counts – when you start your clinical experience. Doesn’t that make sense?

Anatomy Is Your Job!

Have you ever heard that anatomy is just like a language? If you don't use it, you lose it! Surgical Techs and OR Nurses are around surgical anatomy all day long. But you really don’t work on the patient’s anatomy.

When you become a Surgical Assistant, ANATOMY IS YOUR JOB! You’ll be applying surgeon-level skills to the patient’s anatomy. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that you’ll need a surgeon-level grasp of the anatomy so you can apply those skills wisely. You could harm your patients if you don’t know their anatomy like the back of your hand.

Since we need to focus most of your time at the lab on acquiring and applying surgical skills, you’ll get anatomy homework assignments so you can prepare for the simulated surgery you’ll be performing the next day. It’ll help you identify anatomy even if it is abnormal and hard to identify just by looking at it. You want to prepare the same way for cases you’ll assist on in the real world.

It’s a Lot to Learn but We Guarantee You’ll Do It!

We know you could find it hard to believe you can learn so much in only 6 days. But our surgical assistant program provides decades of teaching experience that will help you achieve this. Just to make you feel more comfortable, we make this unheard-of, unprecedented guarantee. After you attend the lab, if you believe you could have learned more if you had longer than 6 days or if you believe you just didn’t get it all for any reason, you retake the lab again tuition-free as many times as you think you need to over the next 2 years.

You will fully learn everything the lab has to offer. You get as much time as you need to fully master all 159 success-building surgical skills.

For Further Reading:

"Tying 'Dan Bump style' changed my life forever professionally!”

- Donald Hill, RN

So, what are you waiting for?

Remember, we limit the number of participants for each lab to 12 so we can assure you plenty of one-on-one coaching.

Check our Dates and Locations page and decide what lab you want to attend. If you don’t reserve your seat now, you may lose out. They fill up fast.