Certified Surgical Technologists

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Certified Surgical Technologists

Certified Surgical Technologists - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, surgical technologists:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a high level of social contact. They work closely with patients and medical staff.
  • Are greatly responsible for the health and safety of patients.
  • Are responsible for work outcomes.
  • Communicate with coworkers and patients daily by telephone or in person. They may occasionally write e-mails.
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  • Work in a group or as part of a team.
  • Sometimes are placed in conflict situations in which patients might be unpleasant or angry

Physical Work Conditions

  • Always work indoors.
  • Always wear protective gloves, masks, and gowns during surgery. Protective attire protects both patients and technologists from disease.
  • Are exposed to diseases and infections on a daily basis.
  • Always wear specialized protective attire in the operating room.
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  • Are often exposed to contaminants, such as blood.
  • Are often exposed to hazardous conditions.
  • Are exposed to radiation on a weekly basis.
  • Are often exposed to hazardous equipment in the operating room.
  • Are often exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable.
  • Work very near patients and doctors. They often work within inches of other people.
  • Nearly always wear a special uniform or lab coat.
  • Sometimes must get into awkward positions to reach cramped work spaces.

Work Performance

  • Must be very exact or highly accurate in performing the job. Errors could seriously endanger patients' health.
  • Sometimes must repeat the same physical activities.
  • Make decisions on a weekly basis that strongly impact patients. They consult doctors for most decisions.
  • Are usually able to set their tasks for the day without consulting with a supervisor. This is because they do many of the same tasks with each patient.
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  • Often must meet strict deadlines, such as having the operating room ready on time.


  • Generally have a set schedule each week.
  • May work part time or full time, but most work 40 hours a week.
  • May be on-call or work nights, weekends, or holidays on a rotating basis.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.