With the onset of fall 2020, our surgical technology and surgical assisting program communities continue to adjust to the reality of providing education in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Didactic, lab and clinical coursework has begun with the fall term, albeit much differently than the fall of 2019. What has not changed are the students entering their programs, enthusiastic and idealistic, and wanting to make a difference in a healthcare environment unlike any other. They are excited to be starting this new chapter in their lives. The fall semester was my favorite when I was in the classroom — it gave me the opportunity to shape future surgical technologists early in their education and to embrace their enthusiasm as if it were my own.
In light of the need for social distancing, ARC/STSA asked instructors to share their solutions and protocols for lab rotations and other activities that usually involve hands-on instruction. We also asked for suggestions on how to obtain protective personal equipment (PPE) for students when it is not made available at clinical sites. What follows is a compilation of ideas and tips we received.
Several years ago, enrollment for the surgical technology program was down at the University of St. Francis (USF). In need of new avenues to recruit students, Surgical Technology Program Director Theresa Sorgen-Burleson, MBA, CST, turned to her admissions team. But rather than ask to increase their efforts, she sought to help them understand the profession.
In 1992, Becky Larson was a young mother of three, looking for a job that allowed her to work remotely. Because options for virtual work were limited at the time, she found herself in the world of medical transcription, which ultimately led her to a variety of roles in medical simulation. She quickly became passionate about the work and the technology’s ability to allow students to practice their skills in a safe environment.
Earlier this year, ARC/STSA was pleased to announce its 12 scholarship recipients, including 10 students and two educators. Get to know a few of these individuals and what drives their passion for the profession in this roundup with images and quotes.
Welcome to the ARC/STSA July/August eNewsletter. We are eight months into 2020, where addressing extraordinary challenges and making difficult decisions happen almost daily. None of us signed on for this, yet here we are. Along with the challenges, there are shining examples of caring and a profound sense of community among our educators. We are clearly better together. With so much happening, my update will provide a brief summation on a number of pertinent topics related to activities at the ARC/STSA.
For many years, there has been discussion about an associate degree in surgical technology as the preferred entry-level model. Once stronger language around the subject became more common — words like “recommendation” and “proposed requirement” — we decided to get busy and make the Associate Degree in Surgical Technology (AAS.SUR) a reality for York Technical College (YTC) in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It has been a long process but we are happy to report our first cohort for the AAS.SUR will begin their journey this month on August 19, 2020.
This fall, many cohorts will find themselves not only starting a new program, but also becoming immersed in a virtual environment — some even for the first time. How can educators and faculty help set up students for success from the start in this new reality? ARC/STSA spoke with Heather Phillips, coordinator of student services at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, on how their program is helping new students feel welcomed in this challenging time.
The COVID pandemic has forced us to rethink how we keep our programs moving forward during such a challenging time. Our lecture content, lab competencies and clinical hours tend to be our highest priority; however, there are many other moving parts to a successful program, including maintaining a strong Program Advisory Committee (PAC).
The ARC/STSA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 scholarship awards. This year, 10 students were awarded a total of $5,000 in combined scholarships. In addition, this year the ARC/STSA was so inspired by the educator applicants that we awarded the Chris Keegan Memorial Educator Scholarship to two surgical technology educators, both of whom are pursuing doctoral degrees! Read more about these accomplished individuals.