Surgical Technology program now offered at SJVC’s Temecula and Rancho Cordova campuses

by Nyla on February 5, 2018 · 9:00 am

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of surgical technologists is projected to increase 12% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. SJVC is excited to now offer this career training choice – currently a vocational staple on the Fresno and Bakersfield campuses – on its Temecula and Rancho Cordova campuses.

The need for well-trained surgical technologists has increased as advances in medical technology have made surgeries safer, and more illnesses and injuries are resolved through medical procedures, according to the BLS. Surgical technologists (also called operating room technicians) prepare operating rooms, arrange surgical equipment, prepare and transport patients, and assist physicians in surgical operations.

The Surgical Technology program will start in Spring 2018 on both campuses, and each class will accept a maximum of 16 students. The 15-month Surgical Technology program awards an Associate of Science degree upon successful completion.

Train for a Surgical Tech Career in Temecula

“We are looking forward to this addition to the Temecula campus,” says Robyn Whiles, Campus President. “Surgical Technology has been a successful program on the Fresno and Bakersfield campuses, and we recognize the value of an effective migration of this program to our campus.”

This campus already has a strong connection with medical facilities and professionals within their community through the clinical rotations and job placement of their Respiratory Therapy program students and graduates.

“Our Respiratory Therapy program has already developed partnerships with the community and affiliates in hospitals, and they know our reputation,” says Robyn. “It’s not just any medical facility that will accept someone new into their surgical rooms.” Over the years, SJVC has developed trust and dependability within the medical community.

“Health care professionals come to campus to interview students, participate in Presentation Day where they give students feedback, and many are part of the Advisory Board,” says Robyn.

What kind of person is well-suited for a career in surgical technology? “A great healthcare professional must have great communication skills,” says Kala Preston, Surgical Technology Program Director for SJVC Temecula. “Good applicants will show excitement and are passionate about their career choice in healthcare.”

Surgical Technology also provides a nice springboard for career advancement. “Surgical Technology graduates can easily fall into another related field, such as Surgical First Assist or furthering their education to become a Physician Assistant or Registered Nurse,” says Kala.

Many might be surprised to know that a background in healthcare is not required to succeed in the Surgical Technology program and field. “Some of the best students I’ve had the pleasure of working with have not had any medical background,” says Kala. “They are passionate though, either a family member or someone close to them encountered a surgery-related experience.”

Dental Assisting was the last program to be added to the Temecula campus almost two years ago. Current program offerings also include Medical Assistant, Medical Office, Pharmacy Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Business Administration and HVAC-R programs.

Prepare to Work as a Surgical Tech at SJVC Rancho Cordova

“The Surgical Technology program is a good fit with our already-established Respiratory Therapy program,” says Jeff Rutherford, Campus President. “Surgical technicians and respiratory therapists see each other in the hospital and often treat the same patients.”

Until the Surgical Technology program was approved for this campus, the focus was solely on the education and training of highly competent Respiratory Care Practitioners. “All of the staff and faculty here are excited about having an additional program where we can do some interprofessional simulation – two separate health care professions working together in a simulated environment,” says Jeff.  “It is a perfect interaction opportunity for both program’s students.”

A build-out of 3,000 square feet of additional space will provide larger laboratories for the two medical programs to interact. “A Respiratory Therapy student might come in to perform pre-op therapy with the “patient” before the patient goes off to see a Surgical Technician to prepare for a surgical procedure,” says Jeff. “And, we will be able to evaluate their performance at the same time.”

One of the first to enroll in the new Surgical Technology program was Cindy Villa. “Since I was a young girl, I have always known I’ve wanted to be in the medical/health field,” says Cindy, who was impressed with what she saw on campus. “There are so many new things, such as the huge student lounge area and their new, improved state-of-the-art OR (operating room) for the students. “I’m just thrilled to be able to participate in a very hands-on program like this.”

Feedback from future employers about the new Surgical Technology program has been very positive. “We have established a reputation with the medical affiliates we have had over the last 13 years with our Respiratory Therapy program,” says Jeff. “They are excited to see an additional program with the same caliber of candidates (for employment) from us in the Surgical Technology field.”

Students in the Surgical Technology and Respiratory Therapy programs spend months in clinical rotations during their programs’ externship. They practice their skills and knowledge in the real-world environment of a medical facility, an affiliate of the college.

“We have over 16 medical affiliates and will have little problem in securing facilities where students will conduct their externships,” says Jeff.

The Rancho Cordova campus looks forward to placing many qualified medical professionals into their chosen fields. “All candidates who are coming in and are in-process have a very strong interest in this health care profession,” says Jeff. “And, our feasibility study shows a strong job outlook for our future graduates.”

That is very good news for the medical and residential communities of Temecula and Rancho Cordova.

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