In any operating room, you won’t see the surgeon without his or her surgical technician trailing closely behind. The surgical tech is responsible for diligently handing off the proper instruments, keeping tools sterilized, and executing other tasks that further set up the surgeon for a successful operation. Everyday, with the help of surgical technicians, thousands of surgeries are performed with extremely high success rates. Read on to learn more about the career opportunities available to surgical technicians, including the growing demand for travel surgical techs!

    The growing demand for surgical techs

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of surgical technologists and assistants is projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032. There are projected to be 8,600 new openings for surgical technologists and assistants each year, on average, over the next decade. This growth can be attributed to the aging Boomer generation and advancements that have made procedures safer. Doctors are recommending more surgeries than ever, more patients are agreeing to said surgeries, and surgical techs are the glue that makes this possible. If hospitals are to keep pace with the demand for surgeries, they need more surgical techs, either full-time or temporary.

    What does a surgical technician do? (Skip if you are already a CST)

    Pre-op, surgical techs are responsible for stocking and arranging the room with the necessary sterilization equipment and required tools based on whether the surgeon is right or left-handed – an important detail that determines how the room is organized. While the nurse and an anesthesia tech prepare the patient, the surgical tech arranges the operating room to ensure a smooth surgery. After the surgery, the surgical tech helps apply bandages to the patient and sanitize the OR, before processing the tools through the sterile processing department (SPD) that cleans everything thoroughly. 

    Though surgical techs aren’t performing the actual surgery, they carry a massive responsibility to both the patient and the surgeon. No surgery goes exactly as planned, so surgical techs must be laser-focused to the needs of the surgeon while remaining calm and adaptable to whatever may unfold. Contrary to what Hollywood portrays, medical instruments are not just scalpels and incision knives. Surgical techs must be able to instantly distinguish between hundreds of medical tools and understand their purpose, making them true masters of surgical equipment.

    So, what are the benefits of a career as a travel surgical tech?

    With the ever-growing demand for surgical techs, there has been an explosion in the need for travel techs as well. While there is virtually no difference in duties for travel surgical techs vs non-travel surgical techs, there is a significant difference in pay. Travel jobs generally pay a much more competitive rate, in addition to meal and housing stipends provided by staffing agencies like ours, Freedom Healthcare Staffing. Alongside higher pay rates, here are some other advantages to being a traveling surgical tech:

    Flexibility: One of the most effective ways to prevent burnout is autonomy over your schedule. It’s up to you to decide which assignments you will or won’t take, how busy you want to be, and when it’s time to take a break. 

    Collaboration/Networking: The travel tech lifestyle presents opportunities to work in a variety of healthcare settings – hospitals, emergency rooms, and outpatient surgical centers, exposing techs to the pros and cons of each work environment. 

    Surgical techs naturally work closely with other healthcare professionals such as surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists, from whom they pick up new skills and techniques. These experiences may broaden your resume and open new doors to advance your career. 

    Opportunities for Growth: The demand for surgical techs is always increasing, however, the level of demand varies by city. If you live in a region where surgical technician jobs are hard to come by, the traveling path can open doors you never knew existed. Freedom is your backstage pass to hospitals and facilities all over the country, and we can help you discover opportunities you may not have realized before. 

    Ability to Travel: Although an obvious advantage, the ability to travel the country and experience new places is an exciting aspect of the travel tech life. Have you dreamt of exploring the rural countryside? Dying to try fresh seafood? You decide where your next assignment will take you. 

    Competitive Pay: As an Allied Health Professional travel tech, you could receive nearly double the pay as full-time employees. Freedom allots stipends for meals and housing in addition to your base pay. 

    Our recruiters work tirelessly to match our travelers with Freedom hospital partners that are short-staffed, as well as negotiate your contract so that you receive higher pay and a schedule that aligns with your needs. Freedom handles all of the housing and transportation logistics so that all you have to do is show up and work the agreed-upon length of your contract. If the hospital’s need persists, they may offer a contract extension, which you have the autonomy to accept or reject. Freedom pays you, offers benefits and provides support throughout the entirety of your assignment.

    At the end of the day, surgical technicians are the backbones of operating rooms and we at Freedom are committed to providing travel assignments that treat you with the respect and professionalism you deserve. Are you an experienced surgical technician looking to embark on a new journey? Learn more here or apply for a travel surgical tech position today! If you are a healthcare professional with tech friends, refer them to us and enjoy the benefits of Freedom’s referral rewards program. We offer an ongoing commission for every hour your referrals and your referrals’ referrals work during their first two years with us. 

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