All About Surgical Assistants
Surgical Assistant Definition Assist surgeons during surgery by performing duties such as tissue retraction, insertion of tubes and intravenous lines, or closure of surgical wounds. Perform preoperative and postoperative duties to facilitate patient care.
A Day in the Life of a Surgical Assistant
- Clamp, ligate, or cauterize blood vessels to control bleeding during surgical entry, using hemostatic clamps, suture ligatures, or electrocautery equipment.
- Obtain or inspect sterile or non-sterile surgical equipment, instruments, or supplies.
- Assist in applying casts, splints, braces, or similar devices.
- Assist in volume replacement or autotransfusion techniques.
- Insert or remove urinary bladder catheters.
- Assist with patient resuscitation during cardiac arrest or other life-threatening events.
Things a Surgical Assistant Should Know How to Do
Surgical Assistants state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Types of Surgical Assistant
- Surgical Assistant
- First Assistant
- Clinical Assistant
- Surgical Assistant-Certified (SA-C)
- Certified First Assistant (CFA)
Job Opportunities for Surgical Assistants
In the United States, there were 127,800 jobs for Surgical Assistant in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,100 new jobs for Surgical Assistant by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 11,000 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Surgical Assistant are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Rhode Island, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Salary for a Surgical Assistant
Surgical Assistants make between $28,130 and $72,720 a year.
Surgical Assistants who work in New Mexico, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
How much do Surgical Assistants make in different U.S. states?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$54,210|
Tools & Technologies Used by Surgical Assistants
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Surgical Assistants:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Word processing software
- MEDITECH software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
- Palm OS
- Patient tracking software
- Nursing documentation software
- Patient scheduling software
- Supply documentation software
- Surgery workflow communication software
Becoming a Surgical Assistant
What kind of Surgical Assistant requirements are there?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Surgical Assistants Sector
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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