By Cindy Mask, CST, FAST, AA, BAAS, Surgical Technology Program Director, Tarrant Community College

As a surgical technologist, I am constantly aware of the diversity of our patients. As an educator, I realize the diversity of the students I teach. As a citizen of the world, I understand how we must educate ourselves of the difference and similarities in people around the world.

This desire to be a global citizen has led me to seek out knowledge for my students. I want to know what happens in operating rooms and surgical suites around the world. Who is the person scrubbing the case? Do they have certified surgical technologist and, if so, what kind of training is required?  

Surgical practices around the word have always fascinated me. This interest led me to seek out opportunities to investigate surgery on a global platform. 

An Initial Exploration Overseas

In 2014, I had my first opportunity to experience an international surgical experience. I traveled to Edge Hill University in Manchester, England. My intent was to see firsthand the operating department practitioner (ODP) program, meet the faculty and tour the campus.

Training to be an ODP is closely related to training to be a certified surgical technologist (CST) here in the states. The most significant similarity is that they are the expert in the scrub role intra-operatively and scrub all specialties of surgical procedures.

The ODP’s training is a three-year intensive program. The biggest difference is that the ODP spends one year in preoperative patient care, their second year in intraoperative procedures and their final year as postoperative care for the patient. Learning about this experience led me to investigate more international surgical opportunities, including the EORNA, European Operating Room Nurses Association. 

One Step Further: A Trip to the Netherlands

The EORNA holds a conference annually. Following my interests, I submitted an