confused: Surgical tech or med-surg

  1. Hello,

    I am 17 years old and enrolled in the LPN program. I enjoy clinicals and although I have bad days, I still like the challenge. But now I am really intersted in med-surg. I have been told to chuck this program and just become a surgical tech but I am so confused. I have not got any answers on the med-surg forum. What is a surgical technician and what is the difference in a surgery nurse ? Is there a very big job demand for surgical techs? What does a surgical tech do? I have heard its only 10 months of schooling. I have had others tell me stay with the LPN program finish it out and work in a hospital a year first. But I really would like to be in an operating room. Then I have had others tell me stay away from the operating room. I am looking for people that have worked in the operating room or anyone who has done a surgical tech program? ADVICE PLEASE!!!!

    LJ
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Mr. Beef
    Quote from godsgurl
    Hello,

    I am 17 years old and enrolled in the LPN program. I enjoy clinicals and although I have bad days, I still like the challenge. But now I am really intersted in med-surg. I have been told to chuck this program and just become a surgical tech but I am so confused. I have not got any answers on the med-surg forum. What is a surgical technician and what is the difference in a surgery nurse ? Is there a very big job demand for surgical techs? What does a surgical tech do? I have heard its only 10 months of schooling. I have had others tell me stay with the LPN program finish it out and work in a hospital a year first. But I really would like to be in an operating room. Then I have had others tell me stay away from the operating room. I am looking for people that have worked in the operating room or anyone who has done a surgical tech program? ADVICE PLEASE!!!!

    LJ
    Here's a link to one of the Colleges in my area that has a Surgical Technican degree program: http://www.elcentrocollege.edu/Progr...stdescribe.htm
    It should answer most of the questions that you have. Granted it's what you can do in Texas as Surgical Tech and in your state might be different.

    Med/Surg is more taking care of the patient pre-op and post-op so you don't get to actually work in the OR. A Surgical Nurse is something you might be intrested in if you want to work in the OR. They help with all aspects of the surgery and do all the scheduling of surgeries and doctors and all the stuff that Surgical Techs can't do.

    There's only a so-so job demand for Surgical Techs (at least around here), and what jobs there are fill rather quickly. You might get a job in Central Supply in a hospital instead of working in an OR with a Surgical Tech degree. The whole 10 Month thing is if you go to a Technical School. If you do go to a Technical School then what you earn there in the way of credits will not transfer to any other College or University anywhere else.

    If you have your heart on being a Nurse than stick with the LPN program. Work as an LPN for a while and then go into a LPN to RN Bridge program in one of the colleges in your area. With an RN you will get more responsibility and will get to work the OR like you want to, or you can go ahead and quit the LPN program and go directly into an RN program, but that might be a bit sticky considering that you are only 17 since most RN programs are college level.

    Nursing gives you all sorts of flexibility in the medical field rather than just being in the OR all day. I know for me I need to see the sun every now and then, and not just when I go to work and go home.

    Hope this helps,

    Mr. Beef
  4. by   Nurse`Chief~Chickie
    you'll get much more flexibility as an lpn. as such you would still be able to try out the scrub tech route, around my area they do hire lpns to scrub. an or nurse would be the circulator, responsible for paperwork and many other things i can't detail for you. i'm pretty sure that an rn is required for that position. i loved being a scrub, but it's limiting. mr beef gave you good advice i think.
    i wonder who gave you the advice to chuck it? if you enjoy it at all, that's a good sign! explore your myriad of options, and good luck!!!
  5. by   jjjoy
    A surg tech works in the OR. The job role can overlap with surgical nurses. In a surg tech program, they will train you to work in the OR. In an LPN program, they will train in general nursing skills in all different areas, mostly inpatient care - nursing homes, hospitals - heart disease patients, diabetic patients, cancer patients, hip replacement patients, etc. You'd at most get maybe a day or two in the OR - just to give you a glimpse. After graduation, you could apply to be a surgical nurse and if hired, they'd train you in your specific role there as a nurse, which may or may not be very similar to the surg tech role depending on the hospital and state. Nurses tend to have broader skills and a wide variety of possible practice arenas, though if you specialize (OR, L&D), it would hard to change after awhile (though not impossible) because you'd lose your seniority and would be back at square one. Surg techs can only be surg techs and work in the OR. In some hospitals, there are various levels and one could become a higher level tech with more pay and skills. If nursing doesn't otherwise interest you, the surg tech program will get you into OR much faster. With either surg tech or LPN, you might eventually want to continue your education to increase job opportunities and responsibilities. Either way isn't a bad way to start and see how the medical field suits you.

    Be aware there are programs out there that charge a small fortune to train for jobs that don't make much money and don't have much demand. So check the local job market, because some recruiters will tell you anything to get to sign up for their program.

    Check out the starting wages as well as the job openings and placements for LPNs and surg techs in your area. Compare that with the cost of each program, the requirements and competition to get into the programs, how long each program would take to finish, and (very important) your own interest in the different programs and fields.

    Good luck with your choice!
  6. by   nursecateeny
    I have been a surgical tech for 4 years in a central Florida hospital. I really enjoy it and that is what I am doing now to get through nursing school. The program I went through was 10 months. I am soooo glad I went this route because I really got to see if the OR was for me. But, like others have said before, there are limitations and eventially you can only go so far. The RN route gives you unlimited options that a surgical tech certification just cant do. The OR is a totally different world. You have to be able to think quick, make imprevisions at the last minute (creativity), and be a mind reader basically.( ha ha) Those working in the OR know what Im talking about. I have a year of NS left and Ill probably stay here in the OR. Hope I could help you some!
  7. by   tntech1
    I have 10 yrs of O.R. experiences as a Surgical Tech. I would recommend that you either continue in the LPN course or RN. Yes, surgery is very stressful, rewarding and fun, but very limited.
  8. by   ortess1971
    I agree, stay with the LPN..My OR has several LPNs who scrub and later, you could go on to get your RN and be an OR nurse, if that's what you want. I also loved being a surg tech but my program cost me 20,000 for a job that only paid me 10.00 an hour when I finished and techs are limited as far as advancement. LPNs can also work the floors, clinics, doctors offices, etc.
  9. by   blueyesue
    Here is a link that gives details of a surgical tech. It also has details of all the other areas of nursing/heath sciences.

    Surgical Tech: http://www.iseek.org/sv/22030.jsp?id=270315

    All other areas: http://www.iseek.org/sv/22002.jsp?code=08
  10. by   tiffdeandre
    Quote from nursecateeny
    I have been a surgical tech for 4 years in a central Florida hospital. I really enjoy it and that is what I am doing now to get through nursing school. The program I went through was 10 months. I am soooo glad I went this route because I really got to see if the OR was for me. But, like others have said before, there are limitations and eventially you can only go so far. The RN route gives you unlimited options that a surgical tech certification just cant do. The OR is a totally different world. You have to be able to think quick, make imprevisions at the last minute (creativity), and be a mind reader basically.( ha ha) Those working in the OR know what Im talking about. I have a year of NS left and Ill probably stay here in the OR. Hope I could help you some!
    How much does a surgical tech start at?

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