From the ARC/STSA Editorial Advisory Committee

As educators of surgical technology and surgical assistant students, every now and then it can be helpful (and fun) to step back and remember what it was like to be a student. What felt like a mountain of a mistake then is likely a funny story to share now.

Take a walk down memory lane and tell us, do you remember…

  • Trying to fill the Ellik without wetting everyone in the room?
  • Trying to master the art of prioritizing, and not looking like a zombie in action?
  • The first time a surgeon raised their voice, and you suddenly felt your gut twist into a million knots?
  • Feeling very comfortable with a particular skill, then your preceptor told you that you’re doing everything wrong?
  • Trying to get the last air bubble out of the syringe before passing to the surgeon?
  • When the scrub told you to set up, then they came behind you and changed everything?
  • How you loaded the Heaney needle driver backwards, despite the fact you loaded it correctly in lab 100 times?
  • When you forgot which side the surgeon’s thumbs are on and put the left glove on the surgeon’s right hand?
  • How anxious you were the night before your first day of clinicals?
  • When you missed a spot on your surgical hand scrub and had to start all over again, and just knew your arms were going to fall off?
  • When you were learning to drape the Mayo stand and it kept falling in front of you?
  • How you wished your instructors were wearing mirrored sunglasses so you didn’t have to see their piercing eyes scrutinizing your every move?
  • When you accidentally stabbed the surgeon’s hand?
  • The feeling when you passed your first case without the help of a preceptor?
  • The first time the surgeon said you did a great job?
  • When you were offered a recommendation letter at the end of a clinical experience?

Through moments of triumph and plenty of mistakes along the way, every educator was once in their students’ shoes. It’s by pushing past these challenges and learning from mistakes that help to make educators the much-needed support system they are for their students today.

If your students are feeling the pressure of entering this field, try walking them down your own memory lane, and remind them that educators, program directors and surgeons were once in their shoes, too.

If you enjoyed reminiscing on the early days of your career, leave a note with your “Remember When” stories on Facebook, or share this article with your colleagues and students to spark a conversation.