Surgical Assisting Technical Standards

The abilities and skills students must possess in order to complete the education and training associated with surgical assistant education are referred to as technical standards. These abilities and skills are essential for clinical practice as a surgical assistant. These technical standards reflect five categorical areas – observation, communication, critical reasoning (intellectual), motor and sensory, and behavioral and social – and represent minimum competency levels.

Students must attest that they meet these technical standards prior to or at the time of matriculation into the surgical assisting program. Students found to be in violation of technical standards are at risk for dismissal from the program. Each standard is defined and includes examples of indicators of minimum competence in that area.

1.0 Observation Skills Technical Standard

1.01     Demonstrate sufficient attention and accuracy in observation skills (visual, auditory and tactile) in the lecture hall, laboratory and the operating room and or clinical settings.

1.02     Indicators include, but are not limited to, these examples:

  1. Accurate identification of changes in color of fluids, skin and culture media.
  2. Accurate visualization and discrimination of text, numbers, patterns, graphic illustrations and findings on X-ray and other imaging texts.

2.0 Communication Skills Technical Standard

2.01     Demonstrate effective communication skills with healthcare professionals and with people of varying cultures, ethnicities and personalities.

2.02     Indicators include, but are not limited to, these examples:

  1. Clear, efficient and intelligible articulation of verbal language.
  2. Legible, efficient and intelligible written English language.
  3. Accurate and efficient English language reading skills.
  4. Accurate and efficient expressive and receptive communication skills.
  5. Ability to accurately follow oral and written directions.

3.0 Critical Reasoning Skills Technical Standard

3.01     Demonstrate critical reasoning skills, including, but not limited to, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities.

3.02     Indicators include, but are not limited to, these examples:

  1. Demonstrate ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information.
  2. Demonstrate ability to acquire, retain and apply new and learned information.

4.0 Motor and Sensory Function Technical Standard

4.01     Demonstrate sufficient motor and sensory function to perform typical surgical assistant duties.

4.02     Indicators include, but are not limited to, these examples:

  1. Functional and sufficient sensory capacity (visual, auditory and tactile) to use surgical tools and perform procedures.
  2. Execute motor movements that demonstrate safety and efficiency in the various learning settings, (i.e., classroom, laboratories and clinical settings) including appropriate negotiation of self and patient’s in-patient care environments.
  3. Proper use of clinical instruments and devices for clinical intervention including, but not limited to, suturing needles, catheters, retractors, etc.
  4. Ability to lift over 50 lbs. with good body mechanics or 25-50 lbs. with improper body mechanics.
  5. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study, which may include prolonged periods of sitting, standing, rapid ambulation and/or wearing personal protective equipment, such as lead aprons, for extended periods of time.

5.0 Behavioral and Social Attributes Technical Standard

5.01     Demonstrate the behavioral and social attributes vital to participation in a professional program and service as a practicing professional surgical assistant.

5.02     Indicators include, but are not limited to, these examples:

  1. Possess the emotional health required for full utilization of mental faculties (judgment, orientation, affect and cognition).
  2. Ability to develop mature and effective professional relationships with faculty, patients, the public and other members of the healthcare team.
  3. Possess personal qualities that facilitate effective therapeutic interactions (compassion, empathy, integrity, honesty, benevolence, confidentiality).
  4. Demonstrate impartial motives, attitudes and values in roles, functions and relationships.
  5. Ability to monitor and react appropriately to one’s own emotional needs and responses.
  6. Display appropriate flexibility and adaptability in the face of stress or uncertainty associated with clinical encounters and clinical environments.
  7. Compliance with standards, policies and practices set forth in the EVMS Student Handbook and the SA Academic Student Handbook.