The Surgical Technology program at FVCC provides classroom lectures, lab exercises and supervised clinical experience. The curriculum includes courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, professional ethics and medical terminology. Surgical Technology students also receive instruction in the care and safety of patients during surgery, sterile techniques and surgical procedures. Students are taught how to sterilize instruments, prevent and control infections, and handle special drugs, solutions, supplies and equipment.
The Associate of Applied Science Degree is a four-semester 64-66 credit hour program. This program has been accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology allowing students to take the national certification examination. Graduates may then use the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) designation. Most employers prefer to hire certified technologists.
The accreditation process recognized the program's high level of quality, which provides the educational community and the public served with confidence in the students graduating from the program. While maintaining the high standards of this accreditation, the Association of Surgical Technologists states that the associate degree is the preferred academic credential for entry-level surgical technology practitioners. The increasing responsibilities demand a more broadly-based preparatory curriculum with greater foundation in both medical sciences and liberal arts.
Need for the Program
The U.S. Department of Labor projects a faster than average growth in the need for surgical technologists. Demand for these workers will rise as the population ages and as new technologies allow for more and varied surgeries. Hospitals will remain the primary employer, but physician offices and clinics, including ambulatory surgical centers, will provide the majority of new jobs. Presently, Montana employs 270 surgical technologists who earn an average of $32,790 annually. The projected need, according to the data for year 2010, is 323 surgical technologists. The Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Research & Analysis Bureau also reports that out of the state's 20 top employers, six are hospitals. There is a shortage nationwide of instructors and directors for Surgical Technology programs, providing an opportunity for surgical technologists to pursue further education and consider teaching or directing.
Fall Semester Year One
4 credits BIOL 261 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
4 credits MATH 78 Introductory Algebra
3 credits ENGL 111 English Composition
3 credits SURG 101 Introduction to Surgical Technology
3 credits BIOL 133 Medical Terminology
2 credit ASC 130 Integrated Software Application
19 Total semester credits
Spring Semester Year One
4 credits BIOL 262 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
4 credits BIOL 207 Microbiology of Infectious Diseases/Lab
5 credits SURG 105 Surgical Techniques I
4 credits PSY 110 Introduction to Psychology
3 credits HS/SP 120 Interpersonal Communications
16-17 Total semester credits
Fall Semester Year Two
3 credits BIOL 170 Disease Processes/Pharmacology
3 credits SURG 106 Surgical Techniques II
4 credits SURG 110 Applied Surgical Technology Procedures
4 credits SURG 120 Surgical Technology Clinical I
3 credits BADM 176 Human Relations in Business
17 Total semester credits
Spring Semester Year Two
2 credits SURG 107 Professional Development and Leadership
9 credits SURG 130 Surgical Technology Clinical II
2 credits SURG 108 Surgical Techniques III
65-66 Total Credits
Intellectual Basis for the Curriculum
Surgical technologists need manual dexterity to handle instruments quickly. They also must be conscientious, orderly and emotionally stable to handle the demands of the operating room environment. Technologists must respond quickly and know procedures well enough to provide instruments for surgeons without being told. They also are expected to keep abreast of new developments in the field.
Technologists advance by specializing in a particular area of surgery, such as neurosurgery or open heart surgery. They also may work as circulating technologists. A circulating technologist is the “unsterile” member of the surgical team who performs the following: prepares patients; helps with anesthesia; obtains and opens packages containing sterile contents for the “sterile” persons to remove the sterile contents during the procedures; interviews the patients before surgery; keeps written accounts of the procedure; and answers the surgeons’ questions during the procedures.
With additional training, some technologists advance to first assistants who assist with retracting, sponging, suturing, cauterizing, closing and treating wounds. Other surgical technologists manage central supply departments in hospitals or take positions with insurance companies, sterile supply services or operating equipment firms.
The curriculum includes the following cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains to achieve program goals:
1. Didactic Courses
1. Develop effective skills for listening, following directions and problem solving;
2. Understand and use medical terminology;
3. Demonstrate knowledge in human anatomy and physiology, disease processes and therapies;
4. Understand the commitment to continuously update knowledge, expertise and proficiency; and
5. Understand the importance of patient confidentiality and other legal/ethical issues.
2. Clinical Courses
1. Prepare the operating room by setting up equipment and supplies, drapes and solutions;
2. Maintain a sterile field during surgery;
3. Identify and be knowledgeable of procedures, surgical instruments and tray set up for specific types of surgeries;
4. Assist during a surgical procedure by passing instruments and supplies to the surgeon and assistants;
5. Cleanse and restock operating room following surgery;
6. Utilize professional and trustworthy behavior at all times;
7. Foster a caring and therapeutic demeanor with patients; and
8. Be responsive to colleagues’ professional duties and be caring and respectful during professional interactions.
Goals and learning domains are the basis for program planning, implementation and evaluation. These program goals begin when students begin their education with learning medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology and psychology. Students then proceed with hands-on experiences in the lab. The first year builds the foundation of knowledge through incorporating science with problem solving skills, experiencing professional development through the discussion of case studies and learning the language used in medical settings. Ethical behavior is stressed throughout the program. This includes respectfulness toward instructors, fellow students and lab materials.
During the second year, coursework includes robotics, computer science and biomechanics. Students begin mock surgeries and, under supervision, observe actual operating room situations. Students rotate through the following facilities for clinical experience:
· Kalispell Regional Medical Center;
· HealthCenter Northwest; and
· North Valley Hospital.
The AAS degree will add an additional course during the final semester entitled, SURG 108 Surgical Techniques IV. Extending the clinicals over a full 15-week semester rather than an eight-week summer will enable students to experience more surgery cases.
The program received its initial three-year accreditation in July 2004 from the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology, a CAAHEP-recognized Committee on Accreditation. The accreditation process recognized the program's high level of quality, which provides the educational community and the public served with confidence in the students graduating from the program.
Kalispell Regional Medical Center has a dedicated clinical lab for the Surgical Technology program. The lab is set up as a mock operating room with a surgical table, surgical light, surgical sink and a storage area that houses all supplies. The supplies consist of surgical instruments, gowns, gloves, hats, shoes, masks, and other items found in an operating room. These items provide the environment for meeting the entry-level competencies required by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology. The hospital also provides classroom space. The classroom has access to whiteboards, overhead screen and projector, appropriate seating and desk space for students’ learning. Finally, the director and instructor are provided with individual office space.
Students are fortunate to have access to the Flathead Valley Community College and Kalispell Regional Medical Center libraries. In addition, the FVCC library offers an interlibrary loan and document delivery program.
Students have access to computers and the Internet throughout both FVCC and KRMC libraries. Computer access is adequate.
Faculty and Personnel
Currently, the following individuals are employed in the program:
· Linda Hunt, PhD, .33 FTE Program Director (time and effort paid for by grant funds); and
· Erin Howardson , Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), 1.00 FTE full-time instructor, seven years practicing as a CST.
The director is responsible for collecting data and maintaining accreditation. In addition, the director is responsible for the organization, administration, continuous review, planning, development and general effectiveness of the program.
The instructor’s responsibilities include didactic and laboratory instruction. In addition, the instructor provides clinical training and guidance, including organizing clinical experiences for students and monitoring students’ success.
The success of the program will be measured in several ways. First, the process of preparing for the next accreditation review in 2007 will identify the program’s strengths and weaknesses. Action plans will be designed to address any weaknesses identified during this self-study process.
Other program assessments include the Program Assessment Exam conducted by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education in Surgical Technology when students complete the program. Students will take certification exams, and the results of these exams will provide a quantitative measure of the program’s success. Students also will complete a program evaluation. In addition, employers will be surveyed to measure employer satisfaction. The program will also receive review on a regular basis from its Advisory Board members who meet twice a year.
In the future, this program will undergo FVCC’s program review process, whereby a broad-based committee provides measures for ongoing review of courses and changes to the program. This committee will consist of the Vice-President of Instruction, Director of Enrollment Planning and Research, Director of Admissions and Records, Division Chairs, and staff from Student Services. The written report is then reviewed by the Curriculum Committee. Finally, this program, along with all other programs at FVCC, is reviewed by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges every 10 years.
Relationship to Programs in Other Institutions
The FVCC Program Director has communicated with the Program Director for Surgical Technology at the University of Montana - Missoula College of Technology (UM COT) for the purpose of aligning the curriculum with other AAS programs in the state. FVCC plans to expand the AAS in Surgical Technology to its Lincoln County campus in future years by collaborating with other Montana institutions on distance delivery courses.