TSTC alumna Alejandra Rubio, a surgical technician for Rio Grande Regional Hospital, sterilizes surgical equipment for an implant-based reconstruction surgery.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – An operating room is where miracles can happen, and Alejandra Rubio can attest to that.

The Texas State Technical College alumna began her career in 2012 as a surgical technician at McAllen’s Rio Grande Regional Hospital, where she has flourished.

Rubio, of Weslaco, graduated from TSTC in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

“The allied health programs at TSTC caught my interest — especially the Surgical Technology program because it’s challenging,” she said. “During my last year of clinicals, I demonstrated an interest to the hospital staff that I wanted to work full time. They were pleased to hear that because of my work ethic.”

Rubio said the many types of surgical specialties make her career interesting.

Rio Grande Regional Hospital handles a variety of surgical procedures such as bariatric; dental; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; general; gynecology; laparoscopic; and many others,” she said.

Jose Galaviz, administrative director of Surgical Services for Rio Grande Regional Hospital, said Rubio is an excellent example of a dedicated and passionate clinician.

“Alejandra’s drive for excellence and team focus is what sets her apart from her peers,” he said. “Her willingness to learn, grow and teach are just a few of her admirable qualities. Most importantly, the relationship that she has created with our team, surgeons and leaders is impressive.”

Rubio’s accomplishments motivated her to continue her education.

“I enrolled in the Meridian Institute of Surgical Assisting four years after I started my career,” she said. “I earned a certificate of completion in Surgical Assisting from the institute in 2016. Now I’m studying for a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Health Science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. My plan is to complete that degree plan in order to be accepted to the Physician Assistant program at the same university.”

She credits her training in TSTC’s Surgical Technology program for much of her professional success.

“The rigorous aspects of the program may seem difficult, but that preparation is how each student prepares for the medical field,” she said. “An example is when students engage in hysterectomy training, which requires the loading of needles. In a hospital setting, the staff doesn’t anticipate a student to be proficient with that task. But I came across an opportunity to showcase my skills, and I impressed the surgical team.”

Anna San Pedro, associate provost for TSTC’s Harlingen campus, said Rubio demonstrated a strong work ethic that allowed her to be at the top of her class academically and technically.

“Alejandra’s commitment and dedication led to a rewarding career in the industry,” she said. “She serves on the Surgical Technology Advisory Board and dedicates her time to helping precept students who are currently in the program. Additionally, she is an exemplary model of success, and I am proud to have been part of her journey.”

According to onetonline.org, surgical technologists can earn a yearly median salary of more than $50,930 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 and an occupational skills achievement award in Sterile Processing at its Harlingen campus.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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