Health Guide USA
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Surgical Technologists | What Do They Do?

Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors and nurses during surgeries.

Surgical technologists typically do the following:

  • Prepare operating rooms for surgery
  • Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery
  • Prepare patients for surgery, such as washing and disinfecting incision sites
  • Help surgeons and nurses during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies

Surgical technologists work as members of a healthcare team alongside physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and other healthcare workers. For more information, see the profiles on physicians and surgeons or registered nurses.




Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, positioning patients on the operating table, and covering patients with sterile drapes. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. They help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. Technologists also may prepare, care for, and dispose of specimens taken for laboratory analysis. In addition, they apply dressings. After an operation, surgical technologists may help transfer patients to recovery rooms and may clean and restock operating rooms.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition


for State specific information, visit  JOB OUTLOOK BY STATE







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