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Surgical Assistants

Also called: Certified Surgical First Assistant (CSFA), Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA), Surgical First Assistant, Surgical Technician (Surgical Tech)

Where in the military? In the military: see titles from the Air Force, Coast Guard, or Marine Corps.

What they do:
Assist surgeons during surgery by performing duties such as tissue retraction, insertion of tubes and intravenous lines, or closure of surgical wounds. Perform preoperative and postoperative duties to facilitate patient care.
On the job, you would:
  • Verify the identity of patient or operative site.
  • Monitor and maintain aseptic technique throughout procedures.
  • Cover patients with surgical drapes to create and maintain a sterile operative field.


  • medicine and dentistry
  • customer service
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
Math and Science
  • biology


Basic Skills
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • talking to others
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
  • changing what is done based on other people's actions
  • looking for ways to help people


Hand and Finger Use
  • keep your arm or hand steady
  • put together small parts with your fingers
  • listen and understand what people say
  • communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • order or arrange things
  • pay attention to something without being distracted


People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Self Control
  • Attention to Detail
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Concern for Others


You might use software like this on the job:

Medical software
  • Electronic medical record EMR software
  • Nursing documentation software


Education: (rated 3 of 5)

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Job Outlook

Bright Outlook
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about surgical assistants.