Operating Room Assistant Course Overviews

Operating room assistants, who are also known as surgical technologists, organize and prep equipment in the operating room and provide first-hand assistance to higher staff. Read on to learn about some of the most frequently offered courses for aspiring operating room assistants.

Essential Information

Individuals interested in becoming operating room assistants can find courses within certificate or associate's degree programs in surgical technology. Graduates of these programs may wish to earn certification; although not typically required, certification may improve a candidate's job prospects in the field. Course subjects will include the following:

  • Infection control
  • Surgical supplies
  • Aseptic techniques
  • Sutures
  • Wound healing

List of Courses

Surgical Technology Introduction Course

The introductory course in surgical technology exposes students to the fundamentals of a surgical setting. Prior to learning any medical-specific information, roles and duties of all team members will be covered in order to provide an understanding of how the process typically works. Focus will be placed on effective communication habits between team members, the physical environment of the operating room, legal and ethical responsibilities of healthcare employees and standard preparation techniques.

Medical Terminology Course

The medical profession has its own set of specialized technical terms, and future medical professionals are often required to take this course, regardless of their specific career path. The course focuses on both written and oral use of medical terminology, as well as the proper way to construct words through use of roots, suffixes and prefixes. Students also learn common abbreviations that are specific to the operating room.

Microbiology Course

Because operating room assistants will likely be exposed to infectious diseases, students must take the basic microbiology course. Typically, the course provides comprehensive but fundamental information on microorganisms and the disease process. More specifically, the course focuses on transmission and prevention through sterilization and disinfection techniques. The topics of infection and immune response may be touched upon but will likely have been covered in a previous general education course.

Pharmacology Course

Due to the nature of the job, the pharmacology course goes beyond a basic introduction to chemistry and mathematics to focus on surgery-related situations. Focus is placed on common drugs used in the operating room and their preparation, while students learn about dosage measurement and calculation, as well as proper delivery techniques. Anesthesia administration is one topic that is usually discussed.

Operating Room and Surgical Procedures Course

Operating room techniques and surgical procedures are often taught in the same course. However, they may be separated to provide more in-depth information or even clinical experience in each area. Also, surgical technology programs may offer several levels of these courses for students as they advance, but the preparatory level-one course must be taken first. Topics range from instrument preparation to surgery-specific procedures. Focus will be placed on the role of the surgical technologist and proper methods and sequencing for handling supplies and getting involved in surgery.

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