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Surg Tech Before RN? Unsure of What to Do.

Nurses   (970 Views 4 Comments)
by gymnut gymnut (Member)

7,040 Profile Views; 246 Posts


Hello all again! This is going to be long because I just have so much rolling around in my head right now and need to get it out. I’m sure you guys know how that feels. This forum has just helped me so much during my transition into the health care field I can honestly say I don’t think I would have succeeded without it!

So for several years now I have been toying around with going to school to become an RN but being the self-depreciating putz that I am I just always made excuses. Last year I stumbled across a surgical technologist program that my hospital was offering and I applied for the 2011/12 class. In the meantime I lost my manufacturing job, became a CNA and started working as a tech there. So a few weeks ago the school called me and set up an observation day in the OR and an interview. I absolutely LOVED what I saw and all the techs I talked too said they love their jobs and how much fun it is to be a tech. Still I didn’t think I would get in because they only have 8 seats available, lots of applications and it’s very competitive. I was just waiting for my rejection because my GPA in high school was 2.0 and well really what did I have to offer? To my surprise she offered me a seat in the class right on the spot because she said I already worked in the hospital, seemed to know a lot about the OR already and that I have a great attitude.

She even sent me a formal E-mail of acceptance the same day. :yelclap:

She also asked me in the interview if I planned to become a nurse. I said that in the future I would like to get my BSN and work in oncology. She said how a lot of techs move on to becoming RNs and being in the tech program has helped them get into nursing school (our programs are severely competitive) over other candidates because they see that 1) You already committed to going to school in a medical field so it shows your dedicated vs others who have no experience and 2) The pre-reqs that I take for this course can be transferred over to their RN program.

So now it’s like do I do the tech program or do I stop making excuses and just go for my ultimate goal of being an RN? I know it has been stated here time and time again that if that’s what you ultimately want to do then go for it and not waste time, but when I talked to other RNs that I work with they said that I should be a tech first and how they wished they could have done something like that before they went into nursing. I also talked to a RN who was a surg tech many years ago and he said it really helped him as a nurse because he has such an in depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology as well as many of the surgical procedures.

Do any of you agree with this? Do you personally wish you could have done something like respiratory, physical therapy etc before you became an RN?

Right now I am leaning towards taking the tech program for the following reasons.

1. I think it will help me get into the nursing program in the future. As I stated above our programs are very competitive and I have seen many people rejected. Right now I have ZERO going for me to get in to them and the pre-reqs I will be taking will transfer over (both the Tech and the RN courses are offered by the hospital). Plus the fact that I was even offered a seat in the course out right would feel like I'm wasting an opportunity that was handed to me. I know several people who have been rejected who had more to offer than I did!

2. I need to start making money NOW because my PCA job pays crap and it’s only a one year program vs the nursing one which after pre-reqs would be 4 years. This way I could save money and if the RN program gets too tough and I need to quit or go reserve I have enough padding in the bank to survive. Also the market is crap right now for new grad RNs and believe it or not we actually are in need of surg techs at our hospitals. Plus we are the only accredited program in the area so only our students get hired.

3. It’s something I do feel a passion towards although not as much as oncology. I LOVE watching surgery and the thought of being in on an open heart, spine or brain surgery excites me. Plus I will also see a lot of surgery on cancer patients so I think that may give me more of an insight as well.

Ok I’m done but it feels great to have finally get it all out! Thank you all for reading and if you need to know any additional details feel free to ask.

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Crux1024 specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, Emergency, SAFE.

985 Posts; 15,931 Profile Views

You sound like you have it all figured out. I was an ST for almost 7 years before I became an RN, and I dont regret it one bit. Is it necessary? No, but I LOVED the experience I got and the anatomy I got to see and hold upclose and personal. Have you ever held pieces of brain, or held a beating heart in your hands? CRAZY!! :p You do and see a lot of things that "normal" people dont get.

I say go for ST b/c in the meantime, itll pay more than CNA and if youre able, do some gen eds while you work. Then youll be good to go for RN. Of course, some people will say if you want to be an RN then just go for it, but I say there nothing wrong with sightseeing on the way. :D Good Luck.

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jmiraRN has 5 years experience.

350 Posts; 9,903 Profile Views

I am not an ST, but I say go for it!! You have nothing to lose since ST is going to not only give you a more in depth experience to healthcare, but it will also give you a foot in the door at any hospitals you ST for. DO IT and good luck :)

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CNM2B201? has 2 years experience.

355 Posts; 3,546 Profile Views

You sound a lot like me!! Ive been trying to get back into nursing since I was 20...started my pre reqs at 18 and like a dummy...dropped out the semester I was eligble to apply for the program and got a full time job.

Now here I am getting ready to submit my application to RN school and Im also thinking about the ST route.... It wasnt until a few months ago that I really got interested in the OR (after I had a c section) then I realized RN's usually dont scrub anymore...and that was the part of the OR I really was interested in...then I found an ST program starting up in our area which is perfect since we dont have an ST program so we arent overun with ST grads (yet lol)

Ive been talking to the ST program director for awhile now thru email...the director was also an ST and is now an RN and encouraged me that either is a great occupation but if my heart was in the OR that being an ST would only bring more skills to the table when I get my RN (because I would still move on to that after I get my fill of scrubbing!!)

I dont know what to do either if you cant tell LOL. If I could get into an OR as a brand new RN grad and scrub at least half the time Id go nursing w/out a doubt. The program Im looking at is 1 semester pre reqs which i have done, and 3 semesters in the actual program with clinicals.

to make matters worse i also have my eye on a COTA program...so im all over the place and need to make a decision NOW lol.

I think since you already have a spot in the ST program then go for it!!!!!!!!!!

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