Surgical Assistant

Surgical Assistant Online Program Overview

Lorain County Community College
Division of Allied Health and Nursing
Continuing Education for Health Professionals

Program Goal
The goal of this program is to graduate an excellent surgical assistant who possesses the knowledge of anatomy and surgical procedures, demonstrates surgical skills necessary to support the surgeon, and displays the professional demeanor and attitude necessary for one making an important contribution to excellence in care of the surgical patient.

Program Outcomes

  • Define the scope of practice of the Certified First Assistant (CFA). 
  • Describe surgical anatomy, procedures, first assistant considerations and evaluation of patient outcomes in the surgical specialties including general, gynecology, obstetrics, urology, ENT, head and neck, thoracic, peripheral vascular, orthopedic, neurosurgical, plastic and reconstructive.
  • Describe potential surgical hazards, preventative strategies, and immediate treatment.
  • Apply principles of aseptic technique and infection control.
  • Demonstrate psychomotor skills required for practice as a first assistant

a) Principles of tissue handling
b) Providing exposure
c) Knot tying and suturing techniques
d) Using instruments
e) Providing hemostasis

  • Communicate professionally with patients, families and all members of the surgical team 
  • Display sensitivity to all patients, families and all members of the surgical team.
  • Accept the professional standards of responsibility and accountability associated with the position of first assistant.

Overview of the Surgical Assistant Program Curriculum
The Program is three traditional academic semesters in length, earning the student a total of 17 college credits. Classes are held on line. Compliant with Association of Surgical Technologists and its Core Curriculum for Surgical First Assisting upon completion the Certified Surgical Technologist is eligible, with additional clinical hours as a first assistant, to take the Association of Surgical Technologists’ national First Assistant Exam, leading to the title “Certified First Assistant” (CFA), (as of February, 2007).

Surgical Assistant Program Courses
Surgical Assistant I (SRGA 297) begins with an introduction to the program. Surgical anatomy, surgical procedures and techniques and patient care considerations are presented in the following specialties: general, gynecology, minimally invasive, biliary, GI, urology, ENT, head and neck. The focus is on the role of first assistant. Students will be taught techniques for first assisting: tissue handling, sponging, suctioning, suturing, providing hemostasis, retracting, grasping, exposure and visualization. The student will complete class on line and clinically first assist a minimum of 45 hours. 5 semester credits are earned.

Surgical Assistant II (SRGA 298) is a continuation of Surgical Assistant I, in that surgical anatomy, surgical procedures and techniques and patient care considerations will continue but in these surgical specialties: plastic and reconstructive, vascular, thoracic, orthopedic and neurosurgical. The focus is on the role of the first assistant. Clinically, the student will first assist a total of 180 hours in a variety of surgical specialties. Class meets on line. 6 semester credits are earned.

Surgical Assistant III (SRGA 299) meets on-line. Class will include surgical medications and solutions, surgical microbiology, anesthesia, anesthetics and surgical and anesthesia emergencies. The student will first assist clinically for a total of 180 hours in a variety of surgical specialties. 6 semester credits are earned.

In certain circumstances, students may be excused from the laboratory requirement by proof of their skills through another means. This is determined by the program director.

SRGA 297

SRGA 298

SRGA 299

On-line format only

On-line format only

On-line format only

Fall semester

Spring semester

Fall semester

5 credit hours

6 credit hours

6 credit hours

Skill development lab required

No lab

No lab

Clinical hours 45 (hours above 45 may be transferred to the next semester, as long as the student continues in the sequence in the same academic year)

Clinical hours 180 (hours may be tallied from SRGA 297 – see SRGA 297)

(Hours above 180 may be transferred to the next semester, as long as the student continues in the sequence in the next semester)

Clinical hours 180 (hours may be tallied from SRGA 298, as long as the student has continued in the sequence from the last semester – see SRGA 298)

Topics include role of the first assistant, skill development and the following surgical specialties: general, gynecological, urological, head and neck, ENT

Topics include the following surgical specialties: orthopedic, neurosurgical, plastic and reconstructive, vascular, thoracic and cardiac surgery

Topics include medications, solutions, surgical microbiology, anesthesia, anesthetics and surgical and anesthesia emergencies

Clinical Requirements
Each student plans his/her own clinical at his/her own hospital and must successfully complete a total of 400 clinical hours over the 3 semester period. Clinical hours will carry over from one semester to the next as long as the student continues in the sequence.

Surgical assistant students must successfully first assist a minimum of 135 cases in the following breakdown:

General surgery 20 – 25 major open cases, 10 – 15 minor

Orthopedics 20 – 25 major cases, 10 – 15 minor

Peripheral Vascular 10 – 15 cases

Endoscopic 20 cases

Other specialties: 20 cases minimum from at least two specialties: Pediatric, neuro, hand, podiatry, plastic and reconstructive, ob/gyn, thoracic, GU, trauma, transplant, oral, otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmic, cardiovascular.

Eligibility

Surgical technologists with:

  • Certification (CST) – You must be certified. If you are not certified, you must contact ast.org or lcc-st.org for certification exam information. 
  • Minimum of two years full time successful experience within the last two years as a surgical technologist. 
  • A letter from your hospital’s Director of Surgical Services and at least one surgeon, agreeing to allow you to obtain clinical hours as a first assistant. 
  • A one-page letter from you with a brief statement of your success as a surgical technologist, your desire to become a surgical assistant and indicating how you will obtain clinical hours in a variety of clinical specialties. (Review program clinical requirements above.)

Licensed Practical Nurses who are working as surgical technologists:

  • Minimum of two years full time successful experience within the last two years working as a surgical technologist. 
  • A letter from your hospital’s Director of Surgical Services and at least one surgeon, agreeing to allow you to obtain clinical hours as a first assistant. 
  • A one-page letter from you with a brief statement of your success as a licensed practical nurse working as a surgical technologist, your desire to become a surgical assistant and indicating how you will obtain clinical hours in a variety of clinical specialties. (Review program clinical requirements above.)

Prospective students are advised that surgical assisting requires a significant expansion of the surgical technologists’ knowledge of surgical anatomy, surgical procedures and intraoperative technique. It requires a complete commitment to the educational process and demands of the surgical assistant role. As one’s role expands so does the level of maturity and responsibility required to assure safety in patient care delivery. Surgical technologists are encouraged to consider the demands of their personal lives and weigh their personal ability to commit to this rigorous academic challenge before applying.

Fees
Participants are encouraged to check their hospital’s tuition reimbursement benefit.  As these are credit courses, tuition reimbursement policies usually apply.  The fees are on a semester basis, $1900 for Ohio residents and $2,525 for out of state residents for Surgical Assistant I.  The following are per semester fees for Surgical Assistant II ($2,280/$3,030) and Surgical Assistant III ($2,280/$3,030).

Registration
A minimum and maximum number of students are necessary for this program to continue each semester. Contact:

Michelle Michener, Administrative Assistant
Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals
Division of Allied Health & Nursing

Lorain County Community College HS 223
1005 North Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035

mmichene@lorainccc.edu

1-800-995-5222, ext. 4165

Surgical Assistant Program Personnel

Patricia K. Sedlak, CST, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA, MEd.
Associate Professor and Director Surgical Technology, Surgical Assistant and RN First Assistant Programs
Division of Allied Health & Nursing

Lorain County Community College HS 223
1005 North Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035

psedlak@lorainccc.edu

1-800-995-5222, ext. 7159

Michelle Michener, Administrative Assistant
Continuing Education for Healthcare Professionals
Division of Allied Health & Nursing

Lorain County Community College HS 223
1005 North Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035

mmichene@lorainccc.edu

1-800-995-5222, ext. 4165

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