Magazine article Techniques
Wes Watkins Technology Center
THE OKLAHOMA VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL Education Council has recognized Wes Watkins Technology Center (WWTC) as a Gold Star school. The Gold Star Award Program honors only those schools that meet a rigid set of quality standards and demonstrate exemplary programs designed to meet a broad spectrum of community needs. WWTC's surgical technology (ST) program has contributed to this recognition and continues to graduate some of the finest and most highly skilled surgical technologists in the nation.
WWTC's ST program was established in 1992. The program accepts a maximum of 15 students per year, and many of those are currently in the workforce. WWTC graduates are employed at a number of health care facilities throughout Oklahoma.
In October 1999, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited the WWTC ST program. The evaluators recognized the program at WWTC for its compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards. CAAHEP, the American College of Surgeons and the Association of Surgical Technologists establish the accreditation standards.
The WWTC ST program is just one of the 418 surgical technology programs across the United States that have been accredited. Only 14 programs are accredited in Oklahoma. The programs are listed on the CAAHEP Web site (www.caahep.org), which allows potential students to identify accredited programs that meet educational standards deemed necessary by professionals in the field.
"Students can only take the National Certification Exam if they have completed their education at a nationally accredited program," says Linda Sanford, coordinator of WWTC's health occupation programs. "The rapid expansion of technology in surgery demands the surgical technologist be as technologically advanced as possible. Certification by CAAHEP puts our surgical technology education program in a league which will benefit the students. This definitely gives our students a step up on employability and job placement."
The nine-and-one-half month program consists of 1,180 hours. Level 1 instructs students in safety, microbiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, introduction to surgical technology, biomedical science, anatomy and physiology, aseptic technique, patient care and surgical case management. …