AST advocates before state legislatures for the passage of an "Entry to Practice" law that:
- Requires any newly hired surgical technologist to be a graduate of a nationally accredited surgical technology program and hold and maintain the Certified Surgical Technologist credential administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA), the nationally accredited credentialing organization.
This credentialing bill does not create a complicated (and expensive) state licensing structure for surgical technologists. It is entry-to-practice minimum competency legislation only.
Certified Surgical Technologists = Patient Safety
- Surgical technologists are an integral member of the surgical team.
- Surgical technologists are responsible for the sterile field, aiming to promote surgical patient safety and prevent surgical site infections.
- Certified surgical technologists have vast knowledge of anatomy and pathophysiology and their relationship to the surgical patient and procedure.
- Every minute a patient in under anesthesia, the risk of a procedure increases. Certified surgical technologists' ability to anticipate the sequential order of surgical procedures and the needs of surgeons contributes to successful surgical outcomes.
- Patients assume that all personnel caring for them are properly educated and have appropriate clinical experience...
- However, surgical technologists remain the ONLY members of the surgical team who are NOT required to meet threshold educational and certification criteria in order to practice in their area of expertise.
- Passage of a surgical technologist credentialing bill will obviate this alarming disparity and ensure that all personnel caring for patients undergoing surgery are appropriately educated.
This legislative model has been adopted into law in five states. The model has developed and evolved through creative collaboration among surgical technologists and the other interest groups including state hospital associations, surgeon associations, nursing associations, medical societies and others.
Sound Public Policy
The model achieves the goal of certification as a condition of employment with no fiscal impact to the state and virtually no burden to the employing health care facilities. The model law's enforcement is simply a part of normal hospital licensure review. The model law ensures that no workforce shortages are created, and, most importantly, helps to assure patient safety by creating a pathway to entry for the profession that includes the completion of clinical and didactic training as well as a certification examination to demonstrate that the skills and knowledge necessary for entry level practice have been attained.
AST Model Legislation
The model legislation is available below. This is a sample only. The language introduced in any state would vary from this model and would be introduced only after discussions with the appropriate AST State Assembly as well as all key stakeholders. AST State Assemblies that are interested in pursuing legislation are encouraged to review the model, and, most importantly, to contact the AST Government Affairs Department for a more thorough explanation of the language and the process.
AST Model Legislation 2011
Model Legislation FAQs
Statements from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)
Both the American College of Surgeons and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses support the education and certification of surgical technologists:
1.) American College of Surgeons Statement on Surgical Technology Training and Certification
The following organizations endorse the American College of Surgeons Statement on surgical technology training and certification:
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants
American College of SurgeonsAmerican Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses
Association of Surgical Technologists
The American College of Surgeons has also issued statements on Surgical Assisting.
The American College of Surgeons on Surgical Assistants
American College of Surgeons Statements on Principles (see 1.G. for Surgical Assistants)
Legislation Aligns with the Safe Surgery Principles from the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety
The Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) is comprised of the seven national associations of operating room professionals: the AmericanAssociation of Nurse Anesthetists, American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses and Association of Surgical Technologists.
The Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) endorses the concept that perioperative team members require education and training as outlined by their respective professions and commensurate with their role in patient care. (Adopted 8.27.09)
See the Council's Safe Surgery Principles here.
AST's model legislation also aligns with the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety's endorsed surgical technology educational requirements:
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) Standards and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Surgical Technology
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