By Katie Noyce, AAS, CSA, CSFA, CST, FAST, and Dennis Stover CSA, CST, FAST

Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting, established in 1999, is currently the only accredited surgical assisting program incorporating a porcine live-tissue training lab for students pursuing a career as a surgical first assistant. Before the institute was established in 1999, live tissue training was exclusive to physicians training to become surgeons. Originally located in Joelton, Tennessee, the facility moved to Nashville in 2010 to allow more students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a laboratory setting.

Meridian’s laboratory portion of the program is a one-week, in-person experience within the first six months of enrollment in the program. The program itself is a one-year program comprised of the online didactic courses, the live tissue lab and hand