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CNA vs Surgical Technician

CNA vs Surgical Technician

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field, but not sure which path to take? Two popular options to consider are becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Surgical Technician. While both professions involve providing care to patients, there are some key differences between the two roles. In this blog post, we will explore what it means to be a CNA and a Surgical Technician, the differences between the two, and the career outlook and salary potential for each profession.

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Introduction

Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry that offers a wide range of career opportunities. Whether you're just starting out in your career or looking to make a career change, it's important to explore different options and find the right fit for you. Both CNAs and Surgical Technicians play vital roles in patient care, but they have distinct responsibilities and duties.

What is a CNA and Surgical Technician?

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): A Certified Nursing Assistant, also known as a CNA, is a healthcare professional who provides basic patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Taking vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Recording patient information and reporting any changes in condition to the nursing staff
  • Assisting with transferring and repositioning patients
  • Providing emotional support and companionship to patients

Surgical Technician: A Surgical Technician, also known as a Surgical Technologist, is a healthcare professional who assists surgeons and other members of the surgical team during surgical procedures. Surgical Technicians work in operating rooms and other surgical environments. Their main responsibilities include:

  • Preparing the operating room by setting up surgical instruments, equipment, and sterile supplies
  • Assisting the surgical team by passing instruments and supplies to the surgeon during the procedure
  • Anticipating the needs of the surgeon and other members of the surgical team
  • Maintaining a sterile field during the procedure by adhering to strict aseptic techniques
  • Assisting with patient positioning and draping

Difference between a CNA and Surgical Technician

While both CNAs and Surgical Technicians work in the healthcare field and provide care to patients, there are some key differences between the two roles. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Scope of Practice: CNAs provide basic patient care and support, while Surgical Technicians assist during surgical procedures.
  • Work Environment: CNAs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, whereas Surgical Technicians work primarily in operating rooms and surgical centers.
  • Patient Interaction: CNAs have more direct and continuous patient interaction, as they assist with activities of daily living and provide emotional support. Surgical Technicians have limited patient interaction during surgical procedures.
  • Job Duties: CNAs focus on tasks such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients, as well as taking vital signs and documenting patient information. Surgical Technicians focus on preparing the operating room, passing instruments during surgery, and maintaining a sterile environment.
  • Level of Training: CNAs typically complete a state-approved nursing assistant program, which can be completed in a few months. Surgical Technicians usually complete a formal education program, such as an accredited surgical technology program, which can take one to two years to complete.

CNA vs Surgical Technician: Job Description

CNA Job Description: As a CNA, you will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients by providing essential care and support. Your daily job duties may include:

  • Assisting patients with personal hygiene tasks, such as bathing and grooming
  • Helping patients with mobility and transferring
  • Serving meals and assisting with feeding
  • Monitoring and recording patient vital signs
  • Assisting with medical procedures under the supervision of nursing staff
  • Providing emotional support and companionship to patients

Surgical Technician Job Description: As a Surgical Technician, you will play a crucial role in the operating room by assisting the surgical team during procedures. Your daily job duties may include:

  • Setting up the operating room with sterile instruments, equipment, and supplies
  • Assisting with patient positioning and draping
  • Passing instruments and supplies to the surgeon during the procedure
  • Anticipating the needs of the surgical team and ensuring a smooth workflow
  • Maintaining a sterile field throughout the procedure
  • Assisting with the care and maintenance of surgical equipment

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CNA vs Surgical Technician: Education and Training

CNA Education and Training: To become a CNA, you will need to complete a state-approved nursing assistant program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges, vocational schools, and healthcare facilities. The program typically includes classroom instruction as well as hands-on clinical experience. After completing the program, you will need to pass a state competency exam to become certified as a CNA.

Surgical Technician Education and Training: To become a Surgical Technician, you will need to complete a formal education program in surgical technology. These programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. The program typically includes classroom instruction in anatomy, physiology, and surgical procedures, as well as hands-on clinical experience in the operating room. After completing the program, you may be eligible to take a national certification exam to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

CNA vs Surgical Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

CNA Career Outlook and Salary: The demand for CNAs is expected to grow in the coming years as the population ages and the need for long-term care increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nursing assistants is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for CNAs was $31,090 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $44,090.

Surgical Technician Career Outlook and Salary: The demand for Surgical Technicians is also expected to grow as the volume of surgeries continues to increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for surgical technologists was $49,040 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $72,530.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a career in the healthcare field can be a rewarding and fulfilling decision. Both CNAs and Surgical Technicians play important roles in providing care to patients, but they have different job responsibilities and educational requirements. Consider your interests, strengths, and career goals when deciding which path to pursue. Whether you choose to become a CNA or a Surgical Technician, you will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others and contribute to the healthcare industry.

Dreambound's educational programs cater to a wide range of locations, ensuring accessibility for individuals eager to explore new horizons. Delve into a more comprehensive understanding of the possibilities within these two vocations by visiting:

Harold Roldan
Written by
Harold Roldan

Harold Roldan is a Growth team member at Dreambound. With a background in IT, he works with data and automation to improve team efficiency and workflows. He spends his free time playing musical instruments or studying data, computers, and technology.

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