By Rebecca Hall, MS, CRCST, CSA, CST, FAST

The Association of Surgical Assistants (ASA) recently hosted its fall workshop and annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, September 24-25, which was packed with informative speakers, hands-on workshops and networking opportunities for the 65 surgical assisting practitioners and educators in attendance.

ARC/STSA Executive Director Ron Kruzel, MA, CAE, CST, and Gregory Salmon, MBA, CSA, CSFA, at the Association of Surgical Assistants 2021 annual meeting.

National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA) President James Pressley, MBA, ACHE, CSA, and ARC/STSA SASA committee member and NSAA Vice President Helga Olson, MS, CSA, CSFA, at the ASA Annual Meeting.

Friday included a day of hands-on workshops for surgical assistants looking to fine tune their skill sets, including the opportunity to complete their Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification. Surgical assistants participated in a heart dissection workshop and presentation on cardiac anatomy led by ASA Treasurer Michael Morrison, BA, BS, CSFA, CST, and sponsored by Baxter. Additional workshops and presentations included a casting and splinting refresher from the Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting, an ultrasonography presentation by Fuji-Sonosite, a 3M presentation on wound care, and a demonstration on the latest techniques in sternal and craniofacial plating from KLS Medical Group.

Attendees participating the in the hands-on heart dissection workshop led by ASA Treasurer Michael Morrison, BA, BS, CSFA, CST.

Participants also received personal instruction on a da Vinci robot, with the opportunity to sit at the console and sharpen their laparoscopic surgery skills in 3D. Surgical Science also had a presence at the workshop with their LAPSIM® advanced simulator and attendees had the opportunity to practice their skills in a realistic laparoscopic view and master the counter-intuitive camera and instrument movements.

Saturday began with a remarkable presentation by Dr. Francisco Garcini, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist from Tucson, Arizona. He specializes in general gynecology and minimally invasive/laparoscopic/robotic surgery and discussed the treatment of chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, fibroids, dysfunctional uterine bleeding and menopause.

Dr. Michael Hibner, head of the Arizona Center for Pelvic Pain, brought humor and a personal touch to the difficult subject of pelvic pain treatment in his presentation. Dr. Patricia Lynn Clark, who is a board-certified general surgeon from the Ironwood Women’s Center, highlighted the use of oncoplastic surgery to improve outcomes for patients. The morning sessions concluded with Dr. Dana Chase’s “Surgical Assistance for Gynecologic Oncology: Tips and Tricks” presentation.

The rest of the conference was spent discussing important topics such as legislation and surprise billing, followed by the announcement of ASA election results and the swearing in of the new ASA Board of Directors.

Rebecca Hall, MS, CRCST, CSA, CST, FAST, is the vice president for the Association of Surgical Assistants. She has been teaching surgical technology for the past 23 years and is the program coordinator for Delta College’s surgical first assistant and sterile processing programs.