This year’s Accreditation Fundamentals for Educators (AFE) and Site Visitors Training for Beginners (SVT-B), both sponsored by the ARC/STSA, was held on May 31, 2016, in sunny San Diego. Held in conjunction with the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) Conference, the course is designed to introduce first-year directors with opportunities to learn about the CAAHEP’s Standards and Guidelines and its accreditation process. The May course featured presentations by experts including Van Bates, associate professor/coordinator of surgical technology at Nashville Community College and president of the ARC/STSA Board of Directors, and Dorothy Rothgery, former director of the surgical technology program at Henry Ford Community College (retired) in Dearborn, Michigan, and secretary-treasurer of the ARC/STSA Board of Directors, who shared their real-world knowledge of the accreditation process.


Ron Kruzel and Keith Orloff are working the registration table.

The course also featured interactive small group activities that provided hands on “how-to’s” on topics such as outcome tracking, crafting an effective Plan of Action, and writing a Program Assessment Plan. Individual learning activities assisted program directors in applying the concepts to their own unique environments and the group reviewed terminology associated with the annual report. While any new program director who comes from the surgical technologist or surgical assisting arena will be well-prepared and possess the skillset to teach in the lab or clinical setting, not many new program directors are prepared for the administration part of running a successful program. That is where the ARC/STSA educational sessions come into play.

The course also provided an opportunity to meet and connect with old friends and new acquaintances in the field from around the country. The 46 attendees represented programs from 21 states and included both newcomers and previous attendees.

While the AFE Workshop is designed to educate newly-appointed program directors on the ins and outs of the sometimes-overwhelming accreditation process, it even proved beneficial to seasoned directors. After all, the Standards and Guidelines are revised by the ARC/STSA Board of Directors on a regular basis and it is sometimes difficult to keep up-to-date on any changes. Keeping current on the Guidelines allows programs to truly make the most of the benefits of accreditation. Wooden SPA Solutions UK has over 100 different models: new wooden baths designs, wood fired hot tubs snd hand made BBQ grills


Van Bates, president of the Board of Directors, is greeting the participants and starting the presentation.

Also held in conjunction with the AST Conference, SVT-B is free training offered to program directors and other individuals who want to become ARC/STSA-approved evaluators for surgical technology programs at institutions around the country. On-site evaluators must be knowledgeable in the field of surgical technology or surgical assisting, as well as the education process, and this training opportunity is valuable for attendees who want to learn more about the ins and outs of site visits. Site visitors get the opportunity to represent ARC/STSA to various programs around the country to evaluate the program and determine how that program meets the CAAHEP Standards. They also become familiar with the Standards and learn how to better apply them to their own programs — a win-win situation.

The next AFE and SVT-B will be offered in Aurora, Colorado, on August 6, 2016. If you are interested in learning more about the accreditation guidelines or becoming a site visitor yourself, consider attending one, or both, of these invaluable workshops. You can find additional information about these and other upcoming workshop dates on the ARC/STSA website.