Welcome to the ARC/STSA July/August eNewsletter. We are eight months into 2020, where addressing extraordinary challenges and making difficult decisions happen almost daily. None of us signed on for this, yet here we are. Along with the challenges, there are shining examples of caring and a profound sense of community among our educators. We are clearly better together. With so much happening, my update will provide a brief summation on a number of pertinent topics related to activities at the ARC/STSA.
For many years, there has been discussion about an associate degree in surgical technology as the preferred entry-level model. Once stronger language around the subject became more common — words like “recommendation” and “proposed requirement” — we decided to get busy and make the Associate Degree in Surgical Technology (AAS.SUR) a reality for York Technical College (YTC) in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It has been a long process but we are happy to report our first cohort for the AAS.SUR will begin their journey this month on August 19, 2020.
This fall, many cohorts will find themselves not only starting a new program, but also becoming immersed in a virtual environment — some even for the first time. How can educators and faculty help set up students for success from the start in this new reality? ARC/STSA spoke with Heather Phillips, coordinator of student services at Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, on how their program is helping new students feel welcomed in this challenging time.
The COVID pandemic has forced us to rethink how we keep our programs moving forward during such a challenging time. Our lecture content, lab competencies and clinical hours tend to be our highest priority; however, there are many other moving parts to a successful program, including maintaining a strong Program Advisory Committee (PAC).
The ARC/STSA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 scholarship awards. This year, 10 students were awarded a total of $5,000 in combined scholarships. In addition, this year the ARC/STSA was so inspired by the educator applicants that we awarded the Chris Keegan Memorial Educator Scholarship to two surgical technology educators, both of whom are pursuing doctoral degrees! Read more about these accomplished individuals.
The ARC/STSA is pleased to welcome Chris Bednarski, BBA, as our new Administrative Assistant. In this role, Bednarski serves as an initial point of contact for our educators, answering inquiries regarding accreditation and submission requirements. He is responsible for acknowledging submissions related to programmatic changes and following up on inquiries from our programs, to assure that they are reviewed and receive appropriate guidance from staff.
As educators, we have just finished our most challenging semester yet. Some programs have been relatively fortunate, while others have faced unimaginable burdens and losses. I personally have found this semester to be a challenge and a learning opportunity.
Surgical technologists and surgical assistants who answer the call to be educators are not always trained as such. We come as skilled practitioners who have dedicated years to perfecting our craft, ensure each surgical procedure runs as smoothly as a philharmonic symphony. As educators, we all strive to bring that same passion, effort and dedication to the instruction of our students.
As instructors acclimate to online learning, they have been identifying methods and tools that work best for their students in real-time. For distance educators, the concept is not so new. We spoke with two experts in the field to understand what can be learned from their experience regularly working in a remote teaching environment.
For many, this semester has been stressful, but it has also been a time of resilience. Students and teachers have joined forces to overcome obstacles and make the most of this experience. Enjoy these stories of hope and inspiration from educators across the country.