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Need advice regarding scrub tech job!

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by Night Owl RN Night Owl RN (Member)

Night Owl RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Ortho/Neuro, Hospice, Skilled/LTC.

2,452 Profile Views; 39 Posts

I'm desperate to get some opinions regarding age and the scrub tech job.

I've completed all non-clinical courses for a nursing program and decided to complete a Surgical Tech program while waiting to begin my nursing clinicals. I also have a B.S. in Biology, which was completed a number of years ago. I've been in the Surgical Tech program for four terms and am halfway through it. My GPA is 3.325 and I attend all classes and turn in assignments on time.

This quarter my clinical instructor has given me two Unsatisfactory grades for clinical because she says I'm taking too long to put on my gown & gloves. (Last term I did circulating tasks and got 100%.) She is threatening to fail me out of the program over this. :angryfire Last week she says she timed me and it took me 3 min to put on a gown and double glove. I don't know if that's accurate or not because I'm too busy to be watching the clock. She could have written down the start time just before the start of a new minute. I do, in fact, have a hard time pulling the glove and the cuff up over my wrist but considering I have a total of 28 hours of "scrubbed" clinical time, I expect speed to come with experience. Right now, I'm trying to develop a standard of doing things correctly. So far, none of the OR staff is complaining. In fact, they tell me I'm doing good.

I believe my instructor is really using this to get me out of the program because I am the only "older" student who hasn't flunked out. Our program started with 36 students in Sept 06 and we are down to 11 now. Most have flunked out, a few just got tired of some of the Mickey Mouse stuff in the program and quit.

Our clinical course is Pass/Fail and everything else, like the surgery courses are graded. Our grading scale 93-110 for "A", 85-92 for "B" and B is the lowest grade I've received. Grading for the clinical is very subjective so I'm concerned that I'm being "voted off the island" this way because I didn't have the "decency" to fail the academic portion of the program like all of the other old folks.:uhoh3: BTW, I always get very good marks for the written reports that are required in the clinical.

I'm a young 59 who is very active and desires to live a meaningful life to the end. I don't intend to retire and rot, I just want to get a clinical degree and experience so I can participate in humanitarian medical trips or move to a remote location that needs healthcare workers. I don't have to do this simply for a paycheck--I want to do something useful. So--is this too old to be starting this type of job? :confused: Do you think my instructor thinks it too old or is she just so old herself that she's forgotten that one does not become an expert in 28 hrs? Do you think it's okay flush somone from a program based on subjectively graded pass/fail criteria? :scrying:

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23 Posts; 1,097 Profile Views

Hey there Night Owl,

I'm a scrub tech, who in august will be starting nursing school. In our program we were taught to practice practice practice, 3 min's to gown and glove is a long time, however I'm sure with practice you'll be doing that in 30 seconds in no time at all ;)...

Our instructors urged us to practice at home by refolding our gowns as well as placing our gloves back in the wrappers and repeating the same steps over and over, yes it takes time and is tedious but I guarentee you you'll get that extra practice you need.

Good luck with your program,

Jennifer

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243 Posts; 3,810 Profile Views

Hi Night Owl,

If you haven't already found it, the Association of Surgical Technology wbesite www.ast.org has a fantastic online forum with a section for educators and students, as well as experienced CSTs. Everyone pretty much reads both forums, so you don't have to post to both. I'm a ST student, and this forum had been my best source of info and advice. The people on there are very helpful and knowlegeable, and I suggest you pose your questions there. My name on that forum is "Heather B." Also, many many STs on the board started later in life, many in their forties, and I'm sure a few older ones, too. I will be close to 40 when I graduate. My parents are both 60 and in grad school.

Is there a Program Director you could talk to about the feeling of being "voted off the island"?

Best of luck to you, and really really go to the AST forum!

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358 Posts; 4,964 Profile Views

Here's a faster way to glove. Open the gloves and then spin the package 180 degrees so that the fingers are pointing toward you. Then put your left hand on top of the left glove (which will now be on the right side of the package.) Lift up the glove at the cuff, and viola! You're already in the position to glove.

If you don't understand what I mean, just read what I wrote carefully. It's a more efficient way to glove.

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Night Owl RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Ortho/Neuro, Hospice, Skilled/LTC.

39 Posts; 2,452 Profile Views

Here's a faster way to glove. Open the gloves and then spin the package 180 degrees so that the fingers are pointing toward you. Then put your left hand on top of the left glove (which will now be on the right side of the package.) Lift up the glove at the cuff, and viola! You're already in the position to glove.

If you don't understand what I mean, just read what I wrote carefully. It's a more efficient way to glove.

Thanks for tip. I think I'm using an almost identical technique now. Instead of spinning the glove package 180 degrees, I pick up the rt glove with my left hand (enclosed in the gown cuff) and flip it over onto my face up palm of the right hand. Then I grasp the cuff of the glove with my rt thumb and use my left hand to unfold the other cuff over my rt hand fingers. The problem comes when I try to push my hand through the gown cuff into the glove. Sometimes my thumb gets stuck on the sleeve side of the cuff and I have to reposition it. Sometimes the gathers of the gown are so bunched up under the glove, I can't get the whole thing to move. I'm afraid if I just pull on the gown sleeve, the cuff will come out from under the glove and I'll have to start all over, not to mention, getting a write-up from the instructor. These are Repak gowns, not disposable, and seem to have a lot of fabric gathered into the cuffs.

I had my final clinical for the term last Thursday and, according to my instructor, only took 2 minutes to g/g. According to her, that's still too long but I don't think her timing is accurate. She's not using a stopwatch or keeping track of the second timer when she starts timing. The times she is quoting could be off by almost 1 minute, depending on where the second hand was when she started timing.

I'll find out on Tuesday if I passed for the term.

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Night Owl RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Ortho/Neuro, Hospice, Skilled/LTC.

39 Posts; 2,452 Profile Views

Hi Night Owl,

If you haven't already found it, the Association of Surgical Technology wbesite www.ast.org has a fantastic online forum with a section for educators and students, as well as experienced CSTs. Everyone pretty much reads both forums, so you don't have to post to both. I'm a ST student, and this forum had been my best source of info and advice. The people on there are very helpful and knowlegeable, and I suggest you pose your questions there. My name on that forum is "Heather B." Also, many many STs on the board started later in life, many in their forties, and I'm sure a few older ones, too. I will be close to 40 when I graduate. My parents are both 60 and in grad school.

Is there a Program Director you could talk to about the feeling of being "voted off the island"?

Best of luck to you, and really really go to the AST forum!

Thanks CSTwannabe. I've been to the site a few times but I don't believe I've ever found the fourums. I'm not a member yet, so maybe you have to be a member to post or read the forums.

Actually, the clinical instructor I had this term is the Program Director so the only place to go would be the Dean. I've considered that, but I think it will be further frustration because I'm sure they will all "circle the wagons" and even if I do succeed in hanging on, she will work even harder next term to prove I'm incompetent.

The reason I think this entire "problem" is about age is because of a few events that happened in the beginning of this term. We have three instructors in our program. One ask me point blank how old I am (people never think I look my chronological age) and one of the others accessed the medical information I was required to submit for clinicals, to find out my birth date. She told me this a few days after doing it. (I almost ask her if she could say "HIPPA violation"). All three of the instructors are just a few years younger than I am. :doh:

I worked in Information Technology for many years, working my way up from hardware installation & repair to Telecommunications Manager, before coming back to school for this program. I'm pretty sure I could spend a few hours with all of my computer un-savvy instructors, teaching them the basics of telephony, data communications, or database program design and construction. I could give them a quick test on the subjects, correct their mistakes and throw them into a room of tech support geeks for 32 hours over a space of 8 weeks and instruct them to start doing tech support, all the while watching every cautious move they make. I could record every perceived error and tell them how awful they are every week when I hand back the graded reports and evaluations, chipping away at their self-confidence. Actually, this is starting to sound like fun! Wiping the arrogant, self-righteous smirks off their faces could be very therapeutic. The point is, they act like this is a job that I should already know and the fact that I'm not totally proficient is cause to place me on a "corrective action" plan and document my errors so they can flush me from the program. I have a total of 56 hours in the OR--24 hrs as circulating and 32 hours scrubbed in. I think I'm doing well but seriously, I'm a student who is learning--not a professional who is screwing up.

Sorry for the rant. I just can't believe I'm paying for this abuse at a public school. I'm going to check out the AST site. :o

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If you go to the AST homeplage, click on "preofessionals" on the right, then choose "online dioscussion forum". That will get you to the boards. You do not need to become a member to read or post on the forums. I'm Heather B. on the boards there, hope to see you! BTW, my husband is an IT guy, and your tech support analogy had me rolling..Thanks for the chuckle! The best humor comes out of great frustration sometimes.

I hope your situation gets better at school. Is there any way you can practice the gown/gloving at home and time yourself?

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the simplest way to the ast forum is the url www.ast.org/forum . when i was in school before you could be released to clinical you had to do a check off. you had to be able to do things within a certain time frame or fail. you had to do it by the end of the current semester. my class had a couple of people that took several weeks extra to make it to clinical. one dropped because she could not do it. the time issue comes into play if you go to work in a surgery center or for a trauma facility. every second counts for your patient's life or for the facilities money. the training is in case you would ever work at one of these places.

there is nothing that would limit you in surgical technology because of your age. the limit would be because of your inability to do the task.

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Night Owl RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Ortho/Neuro, Hospice, Skilled/LTC.

39 Posts; 2,452 Profile Views

Yes, our program has a similar requirement. I passed all of the clinical skills in the lab component of the program. In fact, every week when reporting for lab, we had to get our hands wet, then gown & glove just like we were in the OR. Different instructor and no negative comments or failures. That's part of what makes this so puzzling!

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Night Owl RN has 3 years experience and specializes in Acute Ortho/Neuro, Hospice, Skilled/LTC.

39 Posts; 2,452 Profile Views

Yes, our program has a similar requirement. I passed all of the clinical skills in the lab component of the program. In fact, every week when reporting for lab, we had to get our hands wet, then gown & glove just like we were in the OR. Different instructor and no negative comments or failures. That's part of what makes this so puzzling!

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