New Museum Exhibit in Chicago Sheds Light on Surgical Technology Field

Six smiling women standing around Surgical Technology museum exhibit
Rasmussen Surgical Technologist faculty and staff attended the Opening Ceremony for the exhibit “The Operating Room: Surgical Technology Then and Now.” Pictured left to right: Paige Koosman, Breanne Murchie, Jill Teodoro, Krista Vylasek, Naydeen Pollack and Lisa Larson.

Since 1954, museum goers in Chicago have learned about the history of surgery at the International Museum of Surgical Science—the only museum of its kind in North America. Now, thanks to a new exhibit that just opened, visitors can learn about one of the most essential individuals in the operating room—the Surgical Technologist.

As an educator of surgical technologists, Rasmussen University is sponsoring the “The Operating Room: Surgical Technology Then and Now” exhibit to shed more light on this critical profession.

Certified surgical technologists are specifically trained to assist surgeons in the operating room and are an essential part of any hospital but are not a well-known part of the healthcare industry.

“A lot of people don't know what a surgical tech is—they just assume it’s all doctors and nurses in the operating room. This exhibit is going to play a huge role in raising awareness of our field, and the integral part we have in surgery,” says Jill Teodoro, surgical technology program coordinator and instructor at Rasmussen’s Romeoville/Joliet campus.

Teodoro calls certified surgical technologists the unsung heroes of the surgical care environment.

“Surgical technologists provide both direct and indirect patient care as well as assistance and expertise to the surgeon. They setup the sterile field, pass instruments to the surgeon, and anticipate the needs of the patient at all times,” Teodoro says.

Rasmussen’s Surgical Tech Associate’s degree program takes two key approaches to help set up students for success: clinical preparation and certification exam support.

“Students complete a full year in the classroom and go through all their lab skills before they set foot in the hospital for clinicals,” says Teodoro.

“We also build the Certified Surgical Technologist exam reviews throughout student practicums. The application fee for each qualified student’s first exam attempt is included in the total program costs,” adds Kendall Woods, program coordinator and professor, who opened the surgical technology program at Rasmussen’s Rockford campus.1

While not all states require surgical technologists to be certified, most hospitals prefer them to have certification. Rasmussen offers testing support and hosts review sessions to help students prepare to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) exam.

“With that certification, our graduates can practice in any of the 50 states,” explains Woods. “Our employer surveys consistently come back strong because they’re happy with the caliber of students and graduates we give them.”

Both Teodoro and Woods take their students to the museum each year as a way to add supplemental information on the history of surgery and keep students excited about their program of study. Teodoro attended the opening ceremony on May 24, along with other Rasmussen surgical tech colleagues, and were among the first to see “The Operating Room: Surgical Technology Then and Now.”

“The exhibit is amazing! It was wonderful to finally see surgical technologists being represented at the museum. One of the best parts of the exhibit was the focus on education and its importance in patient safety,” says Teodoro.

Learn more about surgical technologists in Rasmussen’s Health Sciences Blog.

1 The application fee for each qualified student’s first exam attempt is included in the total program costs. Should you need to take the exam more than once to receive a passing score, you will be responsible for all subsequent exam application fees. Contact an admissions advisor to determine the best exam option for you.

About the author

Sharon Rolenc

Sharon is a public relations manager at American Public Education, Inc., where she works on media relations and storytelling on behalf of Rasmussen University. A first-generation college graduate, she understands firsthand the transformative power of education. She is honored to share the many inspiring stories of Rasmussen's students and alums.

Sharon Rolenc

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