Surgical Technologist
Baylor-Garland Medical Center

“I was taking all the prerequisites for nursing, and in my second psychology class, the instructor told us to keep our eyes and minds open to other careers, that there might be other medical careers we’d be interested in. I started to look online and came across surgical technology. The description fit my personality — neat, organized, can handle high stress, likes to work with people. It sounded right up my alley.

“I had already taken all of the courses I needed but one to apply for the program, so I enrolled the next fall. You know, when was a little kid and we played doctor, I always wanted to be the helper. Now I am the helper in my career.

“I worked in retail management for a while, but I didn’t really like it. I loved the customers and the responsibilities, but I didn’t like the disconnect between management and everyone else. In the OR, you really need every person in the room to make it work. It’s really a family in there.

“I love knowing that I’m helping people, and I love working so closely with doctors and nurses. Eventually, I want to go back to school and become a physician’s assistant. There are so many opportunities to help people when you’re in a medical profession — mission work, volunteer work.

“The Surgical Technologist program has helped me grow a lot; I’ve definitely developed more as a person. I’ve learned how to focus and how to complete tasks at a high level of quality. It’s really helped me in every aspect of my life.

“The more you keep learning and moving ahead, the better you feel. It’s fun to learn new things, and it gives you a fresh perspective. When people do the exact same thing for years, they get stuck in a rut. I’m moving up the hill, and I can see past the trees now. Learning a new skill has allowed me to see what I can do, and it’s a good example for my kids. They see that they can do anything they want if they set their minds to it.

“Getting an education isn’t easy — I was going to school with a family, a house, pets. But you just take it one class at a time, and before you know it, you’re graduating and you’re exactly where you want to be.

“This just makes me happy. I feel like I can go anywhere and help anybody.”

Andrea Macho works as a cardiovascular scrub technologist at Baylor-Garland Medical Center. She had nearly completed a six-month clinical rotation there and was hired before graduating; she finished classes on a Friday and went to work the following Monday. In July 2008, she earned a Surgical Technologist certificate from El Centro College, where she was on the President’s Honor Roll and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honor society for community college students. She plans to finish her associate degree at El Centro.