Jessica Hutchinson, Surgical Technology

Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Jessica Hutchinson has only just graduated from college, but she already has 150 operations under her belt.

The surgical technology major has assisted surgeons with knee replacements, spinal fusions, colon resections, appendectomies — and gallbladder removals, too.

But the most fascinating for Hutchinson were cesarian births, which she describes as similar to many other operations “but then you have the live baby.”

“It was kind of surreal,” comments the Montgomery County Community College graduate, a resident of Phoenixville.

In the busy operating room, however, there isn’t much time to stare in amazement, as surgical techs, or “scrubs,” hasten to provide surgeons with the instruments they require.

“You get a write-up with everything on it that you need, such as tools, supplies and machines,” says Hutchinson, 31. “You get it all ready the day before. The day of surgery, you make sure you have everything. You set up the table and make sure the equipment is working. You need to count the sponges and instrumentation. At the end, you do the count again.”

The surgical tech also places sterile drapes and provides gowns and gloves — the perfect job for someone like Hutchinson who likes to organize things.

Even so, the first time she scrubbed into an operating room for a sinus operation, she says, it was a bit overwhelming because she had never been part of an OR surgery before.

“I was trying to focus on what the surgeon needed — how am I going to know what he wants?” describes Hutchinson. “I was concentrating on the job I was supposed to do more than what the surgeon was doing. Overall, I was just kind of nervous. But at the end, it was like ‘wow!’ I had helped move things along. It was cool to be part of it.”

After 150 surgeries “you get used to it,” adds the one-time English major who worked for eight years at a UPS store, four of which she was the manager.

There are more exciting experiences ahead for her, as Hutchinson began working at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center in January, joining approximately 86,000 others nationwide who work as scrubs.

“It’s not for everybody,” Hutchinson says of her surgical technology career. “But I know it will be a challenging profession. And you feel you’re part of a team, really accomplishing something.”

~ by Rebecca Rhodin

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