Frequently I am asked different things about the Surgical Technology program from students and prospective students. Everyone is very excited and nervous and really just wants to know what to expect. I enjoy answering questions about the program and this profession because I love what I do and really want others to share in the joy that this field has given me.
Probably the most common questions I get are about externship. Everyone wants to know what will externship be like, what they can expect, will they be alone, where will they be going, will there be someone who will help them, etc. Externship is the most exciting part about becoming a Surgical Technologist. It is the opportunity to put all of your knowledge and skills together and make a difference in a patient’s life.
So here are some basics about what to expect during externship. Your extern site will be chosen for you by your instructors so that you receive a well-rounded experience. The facility you are placed at expects you to have entry-level skills, so don’t worry you won’t be expected to know everything. In order to become a professional you need to learn every aspect of the job. You will be teamed with a working professional known as a preceptor, that will help you practice your skills and learn new ones. So be sure and be open to learning. Having a positive, can-do attitude goes a long way in showing your preceptor/preceptors that you care about what you are doing and are interested in learning how to do even better. In order to graduate, students must complete 120 surgeries in a minimum of 5 specialties in order to complete the externship portion of the program and it generally takes 3-4 months.
Being a great Surgical Technologist comes with a lot of responsibility. You must be honest, have integrity, be reliable, treat others with respect, and be a team player. You must place another human being before yourself every day, in every case. Do you have what it takes?