TSTC first-semester Surgical Technology student David Sanchez practices a gowning exercise during a recent lab session.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Surgical technicians ensure a sterile and organized environment for a surgical team, and their dedication to patient care is shared by the Surgical Technology program at Texas State Technical College — especially during National Surgical Technologists Week from Sept. 17 to 23.

Every September, professionals in the surgical technology industry recognize the efforts of surgical technologists by educating individuals about their crucial role in operating rooms nationwide.

Mark Braswell, a TSTC Surgical Technology instructor in Harlingen, said he has been sharing his professional knowledge with students for about 10 months.

“Training future surgical technologists directly translates to patient care,” Braswell said. “Many individuals seek a health care career to help people. I enjoy educating TSTC students for their future profession in the operating room.”

Braswell said the program uses different techniques to educate students.

“We put the students in real-life scenarios that they will encounter in the real world because it prepares them for the learning and comprehension of surgery,” he said. “Our program emphasizes professionalism and punctuality from the beginning. That sets a big precedent to things such as dependability.”

Marissa Gonzales is another instructor in the program. She has imparted her industry knowledge to students for eight months and previously served as a lab assistant and clinical coordinator.

“I love witnessing each student’s growth from day one and all the way to graduation,” Gonzales said. “The students attempt a skill, comprehend it and soon understand it. That’s when they can do it on their own.”

Gonzales said she embraces researching new methods to educate students.

“In our labs we use food, Play-Doh, arts and crafts materials, and other objects to relate it to surgery,” she said.

Jasmin Mendoza, of La Feria, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

“I am thrilled about this career because I love to help people,” she said. “I have enjoyed learning with my fellow classmates and doing the hands-on assignments. It’s enlightening to know what the future holds for us.”

David Sanchez, of Los Indios, is also a first-semester student in the program.

“When my sister recently graduated from a medical program in San Antonio, the announcer called for a surgical technology program graduate to head to the stage,” he said. “My mother explained what the career entails. So I enrolled at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. Since the semester began, the instructors have made the learning environment fun — especially in the labs. I look forward to learning more.”

For information about National Surgical Technologists week, visit https://www.ast.org/aboutus/nstw/.

According to onetonline.org, surgical technologists can earn a yearly median salary of $53,460 in Texas, where projected job growth for the profession was forecast to increase 18% from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology at its Harlingen campus.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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