By Durgin McCue
A new surgical technology program will meet a growing need for certified technologists in the Capital Region.
According to Shawn Jeune, program director, surgical technologists have been in operating rooms for years, but new legislation requires a national certification to practice.
The bill, passed by the State Assembly and Senate in 2012, provides an exemption from required certification to those who worked as surgical technologists for two or more years before the bill was passed. Those with inadequate job experience or training will be required to take an exam costing between $190 and $500.
“Most of the programs before, although they have had military training programs, were on-the-job training,” said Jeune. “Basically, you would learn the skills to work in the operating room, which would encompass assisting the surgeon by handing them tools and stuff like that.”
The responsibility of surgical technologists also encompasses patient-related duties such as positioning and preparing patients for surgery.
Hudson Valley’s program will have similar course requirements to other programs in the Health Sciences department, along with a four-part series of surgical technology classes, beginning with a fundamentals class and ending with advanced surgical technology. The program is a 46-credit program, with 34 of the credits coming directly from surgical technology classes. Jeune is the only professor teaching a surgical technology class this fall.
According to Jeune, only a handful of institutions offer surgical technology certificates in New York state. Hudson Valley is the only one in the greater Capital Region to do so.
Part of the rationale behind bringing a surgical technology program to Hudson Valley was the presence of several large hospitals in the area. “We assessed the community need from the local hospitals, being St Peter’s, Albany Med, and Saratoga Hospital,” said Jeune. “There was a strong need in the community to get already practicing surgical technologists certified in order to maintain their positions.”
According to Jeune, 17 students are currently enrolled in the program, close to the college’s goal of 20. The program, whose accreditation status is currently pending, is offered in both certificate and associate’s degree formats.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of surgical technologists employed in the U.S. will have swelled from 98,000 in 2012 to 128,000 by 2022.