South Piedmont Community College will launch a Surgical Technology program in January to help fill critical needs at area hospitals and healthcare providers.
Applications for the program will be accepted beginning Sept. 1. (The spring application will open Sept. 19 for transfer students.)
“We’re very excited to begin offering this program and play an active part in creating a local pipeline for surgical technologists,” said Program Director Alli Roy. “Our clinical partners are clamoring for surgical technologists. They have positions they can’t currently fill. South Piedmont’s program is being created to address that problem in our community.”
Surgical technologists assist during surgical operations. This requires them to understand and monitor every operation that is performed in order to pass the surgeon the instruments he or she needs during the procedure.
“The surgical technologist is a critical member of the operating team,” Roy said. “You have to be able to anticipate the surgeon’s needs and keep the procedure moving forward. Every second counts when a patient is on the operating table. The surgical technologist has to know what the surgeon needs even before the surgeon does.”
Surgical technologists also assist in preparing the operating room and maintaining a sterile environment throughout each procedure.
Roy worked as a surgical technologist for several years prior to joining South Piedmont.
“It’s a very fulfilling career. Every day is different. Every patient is different. Every case is different,” she said. “With surgery, you’re going in and fixing something. You see that immediate difference in the patient. That’s a great feeling to be part of the team that performs a transplant, an open-heart surgery, or any other procedure that saves, prolongs, or improves a patient’s life immediately.”
South Piedmont’s program is designed to be completed in 17 months, which includes classroom instruction, simulated experiences in the College’s labs, and on-site clinical instruction at area hospitals and healthcare providers. Students will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology.
South Piedmont’s clinical partners hailed the creation of the program.
“Union County is experiencing a growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals, including surgical technologists, to meet the increasing healthcare needs of the population. By having a local program, the county can address its specific healthcare requirements and improve access to surgical services for residents. Furthermore, having a local program can help bridge the skills gap in the healthcare industry, attracting and retaining professionals in the region. Ultimately, establishing a partnership with South Piedmont will be key to supporting our local hospitals and healthcare facilities by providing them with well-trained professionals and fostering collaboration between academia and the healthcare sectors,” said Jennifer Sproles, nurse manager for surgical services at Atrium Health Union West.
Added Delanda Sexton, nurse manager for perioperative services at Atrium Health Union/Anson:
“I feel having a Surgical Technology program in our county is extremely beneficial for our hospital operating room, since our department actively hires qualified graduates. Since the OR has a call component, we require staff to be within 30-45 minutes of the hospital during their call timeframe. This is critical for our patients who need emergency surgeries. As we all know, most students choose a college within an easy distance from their homes, and this would most likely indicate these students would be within easy access to both Atrium Union and Union West. I am so excited about South Piedmont’s program, and I look forward to having students at to our facility for their clinical experience.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that opportunities will abound for surgical technologists wherever they choose to live. The BLS estimates the field will grow by 6 percent, or about 7,700 jobs, through 2031.