Blinn student finds her gateway to the perfect healthcare career through the Surgical Technology Program

‘Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program has given me the opportunity to pursue a passion I have had for a long time,’ says Hayley Fernandez

‘Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program has given me the opportunity to pursue a passion I have had for a long time,’ says Hayley Fernandez

November 27, 2018

As a child, Hayley Fernandez was an avid fan of medical TV shows, but she never imagined her career path might lead to a career inside an operating room.

It wasn’t until the Cedar Park native was perusing the Blinn College District website that she began to consider a career as a surgical technologist.

“I always have had an interest in surgery,” Fernandez said. “I did not go to college right out of high school because I just did not know what I wanted to do yet. When I found out Blinn had a surgical technology program, I was totally on board.”

Fernandez and her seven classmates are in their third semester of Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program. The two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program prepares students to be an integral part of a surgical team, assisting surgeons, anesthesiologists, and registered nurses in providing care to patients in the operating room.

“Surgical technology is a specialized field that offers an opportunity to work in an exciting environment,” Program Director Linda Hill said. “Our students will be an integral part of a surgical team that makes an immediate difference in the lives of the people they serve."

A surgical jack-of-all-trades, surgical technologists prepare the operating room, assist surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies, and clean the room for the next surgical case. Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program features a simulated operating room complete with an anesthesia machine, surgical drapes, and instrumentation.

In addition to lecture and laboratory classes, Blinn surgical technology students undergo hands-on clinical experience at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-College Station, CHI St. Joseph Hospital, and the College Station Medical Center, and must complete 120 surgical cases across a variety of surgical specialties prior to graduation.

Clinicals are essentially an interview process for the student and employer,” Hill said. “Working with live patients in a real clinical setting allows students to showcase their knowledge and skills while getting a feel for the environment. Most students are offered a job at the site where they participate in clinicals.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for surgical technologists is expected to increase 12 percent between 2016 and 2026, creating 12,600 new jobs during that span. Nation-wide, the median wage is $21.71 per hour. Texas has the nation’s highest demand for surgical technologists, and, locally, Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley projects a 30 percent growth in the Brazos Valley between 2014 and 2024.

Surgical technologists often work in hospitals but can work in any setting that conducts surgical procedures, including doctor’s offices, day surgery facilities, and dental offices. Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program also can provide a launching pad to other healthcare careers.

“Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program has given me the opportunity for personal growth and to pursue a passion that I have had for a long time,” Fernandez said. “The instructors and my fellow classmates have really inspired me to continue my education and grow in the medical field.”

The application cycle for the Spring semester is open now. Blinn will host an information session Thursday, Dec. 6, in Room 2600 of the Health Science Center Clinical Building I, located at 8447 Riverside Parkway (State Highway 47) in Bryan. The session will offer a description of the program, prerequisites for entry, and career opportunities following completion of the program.

For more information regarding Blinn’s Surgical Technology Program, visit www.blinn.edu/surgical-technology.

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