My Life as a Surgical Technologist — Letter to the Editor

In honor of National Surgical Technology Week, Laura P. Ortiz, an adjunct instructor in Del Mar College’s Surgical Tech program, interviews a recent graduate now working in the field locally

By: Laura P. Ortiz, CST, CSFA

Mayra Alejandra Aceves, Certified Surgical Technologist at Christus Spohn Hospital Shoreline said that she found herself intrigued by the medical field since she was a teenager doing rotations at Memorial Hospital while attending Foy H. Moody High School. But it wasn’t until speaking with her sister in law, who was a surgical technologist, that she decided that this was the field she wanted to go into.

“My sister in law is also a CST and we would talk about the kinds of surgeries she would see and what her favorite specialty was, which also ended up being my favorite as well,” she said.

Mayra attended and graduated from the Del Mar College Surgical Technology Program in 2018. She was hired as a student and received additional on the job training at Christus Spohn Shoreline OR prior to her graduation.

Mayra enjoys working in several specialties in the OR, but she admits her favorite cases are orthopedic procedures.

“I like being able to assist surgeons in any type of case such as trauma, ortho and general cases, but orthopedics is my favorite specialty,” she said.

Working as a surgical technologist can be stressful and challenging, but Mayra admits that learning the likes and dislikes of the different surgeons is the most challenging part of the job.

“What I find most challenging is that working at a hospital such as Spohn Shoreline you see many different types of cases,” she said. “There are many surgeons who rotate through there and learning their likes and dislikes can be a challenge. But also, you get to see and learn many different types of cases”.

Mayra adds that her most memorable times as a surgical technologist in the operating room have been during the trauma codes.

“When a trauma comes in, it is usually 100% unplanned and unexpected,” she said. “Being able to contain your adrenaline in order to set up a mayo stand and back table with little to no notice and have everything the surgeon may need ready is what I strive for every time a trauma comes in.”

Mayra said that working as a surgical technologist can be nerveracking at times but also rewarding. She offered some advice to people thinking of going into the field of surgical technology.

“The patient and patient care are our first priorities. For a new student, my best advice would be to put yourself in as many cases as you can,” she said.

Mayra added, “The more you expose yourself to different procedures and surgeons the sooner you will feel more comfortable and allow yourself to only worry about doing the right thing.”

Challenging herself is what helped Mayra realize how strong she really was.

“I never knew how much I could handle, and I didn’t believe I could finish something I had started,” she said.  “Here I am two years later, and I can pretty much work in any specialty of my choosing because I have exposed myself to as much as possible.”

When Mayra is not scrubbed in saving lives, she enjoys creating DIY home décor and crafting with her Cricut machine.

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