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.
Alicen Grimes, Certified Surgical Technologist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, has always had a caring heart when it came to children and animals. Even though she came from a family of nurses, she felt that becoming a surgical technologist in the operating room was a more interesting career choice for her.
“I’m extremely interested in helping the ones that can’t help themselves, like children and animals,” she said. “A lot of my family members are nurses. As amazing as nurses are, I just knew that wasn’t the right choice for me. I always wanted something a little different and crazy.”
Alicen attended and graduated from the Del Mar College Surgical Technology Program in 2017. She said that being a surgical technologist has been an exciting and challenging experience.
“Working the mid/evening shift I get to scrub in every specialty. Every day I get to experience something new and different,” she said.
Working in the operating room comes with many challenges. Alicen said that facing challenges as a surgical tech can actually be rewarding.
“This career path can be demanding on you physically and mentally,” she said. “You really have to put your whole soul into every case. It can be exhausting but it’s all worth it.”
Alicen adds that one of her most memorable experiences while working in the operating room was when she had to step up and fill another surgical tech’s shoes when they were out.
“Some members of our cardiovascular team were out of work, and with this not being my area of expertise, another tech and I had to step up and make sure that the children in need of heart surgery were taken care of without delay,” she said.
Alicen said that as a surgical technologist you never stop learning. She offered this advice to anyone thinking of choosing a career as a surgical tech.
“Always be calm, caring and careful. There’s something new to learn every day. So do that. Keep trying to be the best that you can be. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Also grow some thick skin.”
When Alicen isn’t scrubbed in saving lives, she enjoys working out, spending time with her family, and cuddling up with her pets and watching TV.
— Laura P. Ortiz, CST, CSFA