June 5th, 2002

Southeastern Community College and Great River Medical Center will begin offering a three-semester diploma program in surgical technology this fall.

Surgical technicians are allied health-care professionals who typically work as part of an operating room team in a hospital, and are often thought of as "surgeon assistants." Other work settings may include ambulatory surgery centers, private scrub working directly with a surgeon, or a hospital central supply and processing departments.

Free informational sessions for individuals who may be interested in a career in surgical technology are being offered at Great River Medical Center from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, June 17 and 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, June 20. Both sessions will meet in the Blackhawk Room, located in the lower level of GRMC's Center for Rehabilitation.

According to Pam Bradley, SCC director of health career programs, the surgical technician program is being offered in partnership with Kirkwood Community College. Classes will meet at SCC's West Burlington campus, and connect via the Iowa Communications Network for lectures, group activities, discussions, videos and guest speakers at Kirkwood. Lab activities at the Great River Medical Center in West Burlington will reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. Students will role-play simulated patient-care activities, such as preoperative teaching, transporting, positioning, prepping and draping of the surgical patient. They will also gain experience handling instrumentation and equipment in an actual operating room.

Graduates will be eligible to take the national certification exam for surgical technicians after successfully completing the SCC/GRMC program.

Bradley estimated the average entry-level salary for a surgical technician is $17,000 to $19,000 per year. Depending on the geographic area, experienced surgical technicians may earn up to $35,000 annually.

Success as a surgical technician requires personal qualities such as physical and mental endurance, manual dexterity, a "team player" attitude, attention to detail and the ability to work calmly and efficiently under stress.

Individuals interested in learning more about the SCC/GRMC surgical technician program or wishing to reserve a spot at one of the free information sessions should contact Southeastern Community College (phone 319.752.2731 ext 8158; toll-free 866.722.4692 ext 8158).