A surgical first assist, also referred to as a surgical first assistant, or surgical assistant, works closely with surgeons in the operating room during a surgical procedure. They anticipate the needs of the surgical team and during an operation, assist the surgeon with tasks such as selecting equipment, holding open incisions, stopping bleeding, and closing the incision, among other technical tasks.
Surgical first assistant vs. surgical technologist
While similar, the duties of a surgical technologist and surgical first assistant vary. A surgical tech is responsible for surgical equipment management and preparing the operating room. The surgical first assistant is more focused on assisting the surgeon during surgery. Depending on the facility, specific duties may be interchangeable between surgical first assistants and surgical technologists.
Duties include, but are not limited to:
Positioning the patient for surgery and aiding with draping
Clearing the area where the surgeon will operate and holding open incisions by using tissue retractors, sponges, or operating suction or irrigation equipment
Selecting and passing instruments and supplies during an operation
Stopping bleeding by sponging, clamping, tying, or cauterizing vessels, or suturing tissue layers as directed by the surgeon
Applying dressings to surgical wounds
Counting sponges, needles, and other materials before and after the operation
Closing the incision at the end of the procedure
The role of a surgical first assistant could vary depending on the surgical procedure, specialty area, and type of facility.
1-2 years recent work experience as a Certified Surgical First Assist
National certification required (CSFA, SA-C or CSA)
Licensed or Registered (if required per state)
Current TB Screen
Valid Photo Identification/Driver's License
Successful completion of a Background Check and Medely's screening process