Should Surgical Technicians Circulate

  1. Should Surgical Technicians be permitted to circulate in the O.R?
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  2. 102 Comments

  3. by   shodobe
    Absolutely NOT!!! Not even qualified. I did have a very long answer to this, but decided my answer would be taken wrong by a few out there. So, instead a very short NO. Mike
  4. by   angel337
    Quote from Rnn2003
    Should Surgical Technicians be permitted to circulate in the O.R?
    i have a friend here in illinois that just graduated from a surg tech program and illinois will be the first state to require licensure for surg techs. the plan is to replace the already existing RN's in the OR. i have not read any documents about this issue yet. people who were in the program shared this information with me. i am not very familiar with what exactly the surgical tech does as opposed to the RN so it's hard to say if I think they are qualified to replace the RN.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    On routine surgery, they do at our facility, following an RN circulating. Gives them an idea of what the circulating RN does.

    Which i think is cool.
  6. by   CIRQL8
    I don't believe that Techs will replace RN circulators in Illinois.


    Yes, Techs shouls follow and learn the circulating role, as well as RNs should follow and learn the scrub role.

    We are a TEAM.

    And, in short, NO - under no circumstance should a surg tech circulate.
    All patients deserve an RN.

    I will not get into it, because it would be hard to be diplomatic and also would be lengthy, but just for one little thing, what kind of education and understanding do techs have about proper positioning, nerve protection, and ulceration prevention??

    -Dave
  7. by   orrnlori
    No. surgical techs are not nurses, therefore they do not and should never be the circulators in the room.
  8. by   lindaloo51
    NO, Surgical techs should not be circulators. I've been there done that. I was one of the first certified techs, I worked long and hard at it, but wanted more. I became an RN because I wanted to take care of the entire patient, not just the part that needs attention.

    I do think however, that an experienced tech can be a great help as a secondary circulator. Meaning that they can help bring order to chaos during a hectic case by being the "gofer" so that the circulator doesn't have to leave the room for unexpected needs. Still the knowledge and responsibility belong to the RN.
  9. by   stevierae
    AORN requires that the circulator be a Registered Nurse. Simple as that.

    That said, when I was an OR tech in the Navy, we circulated; the RN in charge of the room just came in to validate the counts with us and the scrub.

    Is that still the way it is in the Navy? Don't know, don't care. What I do know, is that as circulators in the civilaian world we are required to make continuos perioperative patient assessments and nursing diagnoses, and assessment is a skill that cannot be delegated to unlicensed personnel in the operating room--i.e., techs.

    I agree: every surgical patient deserves a Registered Nurse.
  10. by   carcha
    Wow, you lot, I bet none of u have worked in a theatre in the UK. I can only imagine your reaction. I have worked in places where health care aides, with less then a few week experience have been circulating for me. Do I agree with it, heck no but it happens and more then you would believe. However looking at both sides of the coin, I do not think it would be fair on the tech as their role limits them to basic duties and as circulator you have to have access to all domains of the room. And as you say all patients have the right to a qualified nurse managing their care. Im laughing here trying to imagine you lot in an english theatre,.
  11. by   orrnlori
    Any tech that wants rights to all domains in the OR needs to go to school and get their RN. It's not about fairness.
  12. by   Lonman
    Actually,for those who felt threatened, the Illinois bill that goes in effect in July is not intended to "replace existing RN's". It is actually the 1st attempt to get more regulation in this field that many of you love to phrase, "unlicensed professionals". Isn't it about time that surgical technologist become licensed?? As you the RN's love to say, don't you wnat the best qualified help??

    As for the main issue on this thread about circulating, in the accredited programs we are taught the role of circulating except the paperwork involved. Surgical Technologist love what they do and could care less about doing paperwork. We believe in the concept of TEAMWORK and that the patient is our number one priority in OUR DOMAIN, the operating room. OUR DOMAIN, refers that we are specialist. We are trained for the operating room setting. Not the Registered Nurse who is a jack of all trades. RN's get OJT when it comes to the operating room. They also get OJT when it comes to the RN's scrubbing procedures, doing what the trained specialist is trained to do.

    The bottom line regarding should we circulate should be this. If there is a need for institutions to utilize CST's then yes, as for the paperwork involved, that what OJT is for..Right? Some hospitals make it work and it works for them just fine. For others, the need may not be there.
    There should be more emphysis on teamwork in the OR then the "in charge" mentality that I routinely see regarding RN's and CST's.

    I can honestly say that after 14 years at my workplace, our CST's and RN's, and SA's all work together and there isn't just 'ONE' in charge. We don't have that mentality. I also don't see that in other hospitals in this area.

    Do I circulate, yes, do I do the paperwork and documentation? No, not when the need is not there. Do I have the skills? Yes, I have learned OJT from the many talented staff that I work with. Sounds familiar doesn't it??

    RN's, a cut above the rest??? Not hardly.
  13. by   carcha
    Hey, Lonman, lighten up. This posting is a fair debate on the roles of all the OR team and we all should be comfortable about posting topics of interest to all of us. As an RN I get so fed up with or techs who feel "we are all the same". When OR techs go to university to get their degree, take both the responsibility and accountability, then yes we are all the same. Until then guess what, although both u and I may be as good as each other, may be the most wonderful OR nurses who walked the planet but RN's are the qualified nurses in overall charge of patient care. Your reply is so interesting as another thread, not the or, recently highlighted the plight of an RN in charge of a unit who was held accountable for a mistake an LPN made. Granted the LPN was fired however as the accountable professional in overall charge the RN was also blamed. Your negative attitude is uncalled for.
  14. by   Lonman
    Sorry if anyone feels that I was making negative statements. I feel I was not and I agree with you that this board is for discussions.

    The question was about ST's circulating in the OR and all I did was respond. Perhaps those who might get offended are in denial of the truth??

    Reminds me of the fear that some RN's have regarding the ST's getting licensed.

    BTW, I am in the USA, how do they do things regarding regulating the ST where you work? In the USA, it is not standard practice (meaning mandatory)that the ST be certified, let alone registered or licensed. There are those hospitals that do require an ST to be certified but hardly any state requires registration and licensure.

    This is a matter that continues to baffle the ST's of the United States. We, the State Assemblies of Surgical Technology continue that plight. Wouldn't you??

    Anyway, I feel that this is getting off the subject.

    Again, should ST's be allowed to circulate..YES if the need is there.

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