Monthly Surgical Assisting Newsletter

Our monthly surgical assisting newsletter is sent out to bring you news and stories helpful and interesting to your career.

We will also be featuring students and graduates to give you a closer look at our program.

Meet our Program Director Alice L. Dungen!

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Happy Halloween!

Our wonderful instructor, Alice Dungen, wrote a student spotlight about one of our RASA students. We also have a Halloween themed crossword just for fun!

A note from our director…

Happy Halloween – October 2018

Graduate Spotlight – Codi StoutSurgeon Surgical Assisting Newsletter Codi

Codi is a multi-talented RASA graduate who began his career as a Certified Surgical Technologist while in the United States Navy in 2011. He is a graphic and digital artist as well as an acoustic guitarist and jazz muse shamisen musician! (Author’s note: I Googled the shamisen… very cool!)

How did RASA’s Surgical Assisting Program help your Career?

I asked Codi if he felt that the RASA course prepared him adequately to be a Surgeon’s Assistant. He stated that the book work weans the student nicely into the clinical phase of the program. The clinicals are governed primarily by the surgeons and staff at the facility where you practice. That allows for an efficient hands-on internship. RASA has excellent course material. Codi received a lot of great feedback from his attending surgeons throughout his internship. Codi stated that the modules are set up great and allow the program to work full circle, setting the student up for success.

What was the hardest part of becoming a Surgical Assistant?

The most challenging segment of the program overall was learning a new scope of practice. Codi stated that pushing beyond the CST scope of practice was unique and the depth of knowledge of a Surgeon’s Assistant is vast and required patience and persistence to attain. Clinically, the program posed no extreme challenges for him.

Codi believes that RASA definitely prepared him for the final exam. He felt that the course work and break down of the modules and study material set him up very well for the program’s final exam.

Have you had any particularly interesting experiences as an SA?

He shared a case that was particularly rewarding for him. The surgery was a tibial nail explantation where there was no medical device representative on site. Codi assisted with retraction while the surgeon struggled to remove what he had believed was the nail’s end cap for nearly 45 minutes. Codi asked if he could examine the C-arm images closer. Upon examination, Codi believed that the nail did not have an end cap and what the surgeon had been viewing under fluoroscopy was instead the nail’s proximal threads. He conveyed this to the surgeon, who gave him the go-ahead to “give it a shot.” Codi was then able to thread the slap hammer to the nail and out it came with a few swings of the mallet!

What was the hardest case you’ve worked on?

His most challenging case involved the removal of a  large mass, superior to the sacrum. This procedure required deep dissection and undermining of tissue that Codi assisted with. The huge incision evolved into a Z-plasty flap and closure. He felt that RASA really “nailed it” with teaching this specific closure. He was able to carry out all the subcuticular and skin suturing for the lower half of the flap while the surgeon closed the upper half. When the closure was complete, Codi’s cosmetic closure mirrored the surgeon’s. These are the moments that SA’s live for!

Advice for SAs

Codi’s “pearls of wisdom” included, “Be humble and have an open mind – never stop learning, even if you’ve been assisting for a long time. There is never a day that I have not been able to learn something new. Don’t ever think that you are better than someone else and strive to be the best that you can be!”

Was becoming a SA the right career move?

“Oh yes! I had always wanted to become an SA, but had no idea how to achieve that goal – until my wife came across RASA!” He had previously enrolled into a University with pre-med undergrad with a plan to pursue PA school. Codi had no idea at the time that he could use his vast experience as a CST as a prerequisite to further his education and become a Surgeon’s Assistant. He has no doubt that it was the right move for him.

When asked what trait he feels is a good one to have in this field, Codi immediately said that patience, at all times, is necessary. He shared that being a CST for 7 years and then returning to a student status was a challenge, but humility and patience allowed him to further his education and take the next step in a fulfilling career as an assistant. Be patient, take your time, and soak it all in!

Future Plans as a SA

His major lifestyle change as a result of becoming an SA was the financial growth for himself, his wife and baby girl. Seeing his first paycheck was exciting! This has allowed new doors to open for new and exciting adventures for his family.

Codi’s future plans include partnering as Surgical Assistants with his life-long friend and perhaps pursue a practice in a tri-city area. Codi has also been approached by a medical representative to join their team. So for Codi, there are a number of options out there.

He highly recommends RASA for anyone interested in becoming an SA and urges anyone out there with any questions or interest to pick up the phone and call RASA today!

Codi wants to thank his wife for her endless support throughout the program and the RASA staff for their professionalism and dedication to their student’s success. It made a world of difference!

Student Spotlight by Alice L. Dungen Program Director, Independent Surgical Assistant

Test your surgical terminology knowledge with our monthly crossword puzzle:

This month’s puzzle may not challenge your medical knowledge to an extraneous extent. However, you should have some laughs as you do it!

Think you figured out all the answers?

Below are some service opportunities, but if you know of more post them on our Facebook page and share them with others.

Service Opportunities is a network that allows you to search hundreds of organizations based on your healthcare specialty (including Surgical Tech), part of the world, and health issue(s) of interest. Although many individual organizations offer the opportunity to volunteer in a surgical missions, not all accept SAs. Following are a few that may; we’d love to hear from you about other opportunities.