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Career advice

We are a vital part of the surgical team

The traditional surgical workforce has changed – and continues to do so. Discover why and what opportunities may be open to you

With a reduction in the number of junior doctors available to support the delivery of surgery, educating non-medical surgical assistants is now the way to resource consultant-led surgical teams to ensure safe care in theatres.

It is 25 years since the Oxford Heart Centre appointed the first British nurse to be formally trained as a non-medically qualified surgical assistant. The number of nurses and allied health professionals undertaking surgical roles has increased to make up the shortfall in the surgical workforce.

Non-medical surgical assistants need support, engagment and leadership from their surgical colleagues

Picture credit: Getty

There are two main levels of surgical assistant: surgical care practitioner (SCP) and surgical first assistant (SFA).


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