Inspired by the surgical team who helped her mother, Castleton resident Ashley Seabolt enrolled in LFCC’s surgical technology program in 2016. She was one of three members of the Vint Hill site’s inaugural class.
On Sept. 11, Seabolt began working with operating teams at Winchester Medical Center, two months after graduating from LFCC’s accredited surgical technology program.
“I decided to go into surgical technology when my mom was at the University of Virginia Medical Center having surgery and I had the chance to meet everyone on the surgical team,” Seabolt says. “It was just a very positive atmosphere. At that point, I knew that I wanted to be a part of a team like that.”
A married mother of two sons, she was already taking classes at LFCC at the time, many of them science-based as she knew she wanted to go into the medical field in some capacity.
LFCC’s Middletown Campus has had the surgical technology program since 2004, but it only came to the Vint Hill site last year. The site welcomed 10 students this semester.
Surgical technologists play a critical role in the operating room.
“We’re a part of the surgical team,” says Tina Putman, director of the surgical technology program at LFCC. “We set up the equipment and supplies needed for the surgery. We pass instruments to the surgeon.
“Surgical technologists can be educators. They can be surgical assistants. They can work in surgical offices, ambulatory care units, the military. The possibilities are endless.”
The newest round of classes – which includes anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and fundamentals of surgical care – comes as the 34th annual National Surgical Technologists Week is celebrated the third week in September. Later classes include surgical pharmacology, surgical procedures and microbiology.
During the three-semester program, students will have plenty of hands-on training.
“They have to have 120 surgical cases in various surgical specialties and roles before they graduate,” Putman says.
“It’s something that you have to be very devoted to,” Seabolt says. “I loved the hand-on experience that I was a part of during clinicals.”
She also looked up to Lisa Day, the course instructor at Vint Hill. Day is president of the Virginia Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists.
“She was incredible,” Seabolt says. “I liked that she’s very knowledgeable about surgery and really knows what she is teaching. She is full of information, especially about everyday situations that you will run into in the OR.”
The prognosis for surgical technologists is good. In Virginia, the average wage for surgical technologists was $48,560 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Through 2024, the field is expected to grow by nearly 15 percent nationwide.