Upon successful completion of the Surgical First Assistant program, students will be awarded the specialized certificate (SC) and are eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). Successful completion of the exam awards the Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA) credential.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) defines the role and responsibilities of the surgical first assistant as follows: “The first assistant in a surgical operation should be a trained individual who is able to participate in and actively assist the surgeon in completing the operation safely and expeditiously by helping to provide exposure, maintain hemostasis, and other technical functions. Surgical Assistants (SAs) should meet national standards and be credentialed by the appropriate local authority. These individuals are not authorized to operate independently and are required to be under the supervision of the surgeon.
In addition, perioperative duties that may be performed by the surgical assistant who has received the appropriate training as outlined by the Core Curriculum for Surgical Assisting, 4th ed, may include duties such as assisting with intraoperative positioning, injection of local anesthesia (i.e. ASA Local Anesthesia Guidelines), insertion of trocars (i.e. ASA Trocar Guidelines), preparation of grafts, use of appropriate suturing or stapling devices, securing drains, application of casts, facilitating patient rounds, changing dressings, and other duties as approved and assigned by the supervising surgeon and local facility.
Admission into the Surgical First Assistant program requires submission of a separate application and is competitive. Students applying for the Surgical First Assistant program must be graduates of a CAAHEP-accredited Surgical Technology program and must currently hold and maintain the Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) credential during their enrollment. Students must have a minimum of two (2) years of experience as a CST and this experience must be within the last four (4) years. Additionally, all students accepted into the Surgical First Assistant program must have a criminal background check at their own expense after admission into the program. Please see the program web page to obtain more information about the program and the admission process.
Note: Registrations for Surgical First Assistant courses are restricted to students within the major.