MARKED TREE (KAIT) - A new program at the ASU Newport Marked Tree campus gives students the opportunity to see the inside of an operating room.
ASU Newport already has an accredited Surgical Tech Program, but this is the first year for the surgical tech program at the Marked Tree campus.
The program operates in a classroom, but not just any classroom.
The lab space is set up and designed to resemble an OR you would see in a hospital.
The room is equipped with a scrub station and operating table.
Instructor Jeremy Wortham said a surgical tech is basically the surgeon's right hand. They assist the doctor with instruments and pay close attention to contamination risks in the OR.
Wortham said there is a high demand for qualified people in this field and he believes their program could stand strong against others across the country.
Wortham said well trained surgical techs are vital, even if people don't realize it.
"Most people going into surgery don't really ever remember going into the OR, but we are often among the first people to touch you in the OR, the patient, and among the last," Wortham said.
Students have class a few days a week while also participating in clinical training at hospitals across the state.
Rachael Keith, a student in the program, said she was looking into nursing when she came across this opportunity in Marked Tree.
She said clinical training is her favorite part.
"Getting to be in surgery is really fun," Keith said.
Chelsi Bickerstaff, also a surgical tech student, said she enjoys the hands on aspect of the program.
"It's completely different than what we see in here in the lab because you cannot get more real than actually being there and hands on," Bickerstaff said.
Both Keith and Bickerstaff said they are excited to finish the program this summer and start their careers.
They both always imagined some sort of career in medicine but never realized this was a possibility.
The Marked Tree campus is working to get the surgical tech program accredited.
Wortham believes the accreditation process will be completed by 2016.
ASUN Marked Tree is taking applications for next years surgical tech class.
The application deadline is June 1.
For more information visit the ASU Newport website www.asun.edu.