Hi all, any CST to RN here?

  1. Can any CST's who have furthered their education relate their experience coming from tech to RN? I am a CST readying to enter nursing school and want to know what I'm in for. Did anything about the process surprise you? Was it what you thought it'd be? Did you only have eyes for the OR, or consider other avenues of nursing? Any info would be most helpful........ Thanks!!!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   ewattsjt
    I am a current CST in a pre-nursing program. I have not had any of the core classes yet. Right now I am only interested in nursing in surgery. I hope others will respond as I am curious too.
  4. by   nurseangel47
    Hi, Walkingon, and
  5. by   walkingon
    Thanks for the welcome, nurseangel47!

    ewattsjt, why did you decide to go to nursing school?
  6. by   ewattsjt
    this will probably open a can of worms but it is the truth.

    this is for possible st students as well as a reply to walkingon.

    this is at the facility where i work only. policies vary slightly from place to place. it is my personal opinion.

    money and respect is the only reason to return to school. i have an associate in st and a cst getting ready to sit for a certification surgical assisting (additional schooling) but sadly our scale is about 1/4 behind that of an rn’s. i am not quite 1/2 way up on the st pay scale but a starting rn that i have to help on the job (can not perform independently) makes more green than me. i don't mind helping, it is for the patient's safety, it is just a slap in the face.

    as far as the patient; i could not be more of a patient advocate than what i am now. my responsibilities will be the close to the same (some would say ....but you would be licensed now…..they treat the lpns the same way here). there are differences which include but not limited to; patient assessment, administer meds, documentation etc…

    respect... while my employer say that they respect us and our degree, they do not. it shows in actions. they have clinical ladders for the nurses (rn) that we (csts) can do according to policy and job descriptions but we are not allowed to do the ladder. it is well within our scope of practice. there is a bonus of $1,000 to $3,000 as well as a slight pay increase for each step climbed on the ladder (well…we could do it but we would not receive any compensation). this is only one of many examples that i could give.

    as far as classes being different, my prerequisites transfer toward the nursing. anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology of microorganisms, psychology etc… were all nursing equivalence. i only need the core classes and clinical.

    most csts will not tell you this but if you are just starting, there are many more doors that can be opened in nursing. remember that most hospital administrators are rns and policies are set for rns.

    the only problem that i see is that if you love scrubbing you may not do much. most facilities around where i work are going to csts to save on money. this means that the tech will scrub and you will circulate. not at all facilities are doing this but it is a growing trend. i must note that there are some all rn surgery centers and ors.

    i could go on and on but you need to really think about what you want. if you are going for an associate, i would advise you go for an asn and sit for the state boards for rn.

    csts can advance their careers in healthcare management, just not as easily.
    Last edit by ewattsjt on Dec 19, '06
  7. by   sunnyjohn
    CST to RN here!

    I will start a direct-entry Master's in May.

    Why? Well ewattsjt said some of it. As a CST if you want to advance you REALLy have to further your education.

    Of course that education does not have to be in nursing. You could always get advanced degrees in healthcare mangement or public health.

    Still, an RN is the easiest/clearest path of advancement for a CST. I have much respect for nurses so I have no problem with that.

    Just to note, even without an RN I was able to become a program director at a college for surgical technology. I also worked as a traveler. I have made very good money as a CST, but it will be easier to advance both financially and clinically as an RN.
  8. by   walkingon
    Thanks for the replies! I figured that the only way to get ahead (or even get a job in the first place, there's not many around here) was to go back to school again, which is why I'm doing this. You guys are an inspiration!
  9. by   ewattsjt
    the ast has a newer policy that mandates program directors of st programs be cst. so teaching st is definitely an advancement avenue that is open.
  10. by   CrazyScrubNurse
    Wow you guys hit the nail on the head with this one!! That is the reason I am going to RN school also. I have been scrubbing for 7 years now and am tired of training new scrubs and RN's and not getting the recognition or pay increases for it. I don't know why we are not recognized with the same respect as the RN's are. And RN's with WAY less experience in the OR don't even recognize our expertise they still think we are only scrubs and not nurses and don't want to take our advice even though we are saving them a lot of time and frustration. Whatever, that is why I am getting my RN for the respect not really the money.
  11. by   CMD_TPA
    Congratulations! And GO FOR IT! I was a CST for 10 yrs, returned to school for ASN, and have just completed my BS in Health Care Leadership. I work as the Education Specialist for Perioperative Services covering 3 hospitals in the group. My early thoughts on going back to school, was sitting in class wishing everyone was wearing scrubs, then the 18 yr olds complaining they have so much school work they couldn't party enough. Wah, and stop wasting mommy's money. Anatomy was a breeze once I turned the book side ways to look like it does from the scrub tech position. Physiology and chemistry were the two hardest for me. Once I graduated, I came right back into the OR and it took about a year before I REALLY felt comfortable walking into a room to relieve for breaks/lunch and being on call without a back-up. Your optins are bountiful! Good luck!
  12. by   TakeTwoAspirin
    I was a tech before going to nursing school also. Although I loved being a scrub and 'at the field' where all the action is, frankly I am not getting any younger. I don't want to stir up a lot of flack here so I want to say quite clearly that I am not trying to suggest that one job is 'easier' than another. However, for me personally, I found that being in one spot with a limited range of motion in some of the longer cases was beginning to really take a toll on my body. I began to have trouble with my back and knees and was in pain (and taking OTC painkillers) every day. I also have some quite severe nerve damage in both of my hands, and holding onto those retractors for an 8 hour stretch was just getting to be too much. I figured that at some point my body would give out on me for good, and as a tech the opportunities for 'desk jockey' jobs are vastly more restricted than with RNs.

    Another deciding factor was the fact that I was at the top of my pay scale. I not only did a lot of precepting of tech students/employees, but they would also more often than not put the new nurses in with me so that I could show them the ropes and 'look out for them' also. This was a huge responsibility. I would often have a student tech and new nurse in the room at the same time, often on thoracic and big vascular cases like AAA's.

    At some point you begin to realize that they just ain't paying you enough money for that kind of responsibility!
  13. by   GadgetRN71
    Former CST here also. A big part of the reason I returned to school was I had interest in other areas of healthcare(ie CRNA, NP etc) and obviously, you need an RN for that. There are more options as a nurse. Sadly, some of my fellow techs were the reason that techs get a bad rap as being uneducated. Some of the ones with OTJ training would talk badly about the techs who were certified. I felt that techs should be licensed-this way the pay might start to creep up. I'm all for techs having respect and I still respect the techs I work with-we are engaged in a team effort.
    Not looking to start any fights but the worst disrespect I have ever felt was as a new nurse in the OR where I was once a tech. Guess who were the culprits-some of the techs! :trout:I'm talking people calling me "traitor" under their breath, making comments like "Oh, you're a NURSE now-isn't that special" etc. There was a meeting involving the techs and I still had about 8 months of school to go. I still considered myself a tech because I loved my job and scrubbing. I was not told of this meeting because in about a year, I would be one of THEM(a nurse).
    I honestly think now that any tech that becomes a nurse should not work in the same OR where they once were a tech. Just too much aggravation and politics. I say go where you have a clean start!
  14. by   ewattsjt
    What was eye opening to me; was when my room was accused of throwing away the lid to the screw set to a Synthes frag set. Decontamination/Sterile processing demanded that it did not come down to them. So I went to the trash and started digging through it as protocol demands (even thought it was too large to have accidentally been thrown away). Before long one of the nurses that had hired just before me came and started helping. A surgeon went by and asked what we were doing. She replied we are getting paid XXX per hour to dig through trash for something that isn’t there and laughed. Her pay is almost twice mine, and she asks me questions about procedures, etc… A patient transporter had started helping by that time and he said no no, I only make XXX which wasn't very much below my pay (especially when you figure how much I spend on certification, conferences etc...it came close) That was my final deciding factor in whole scheme of things. I decided the only way I would be paid or treated close to equal is to become an RN.

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