TSTC Surgical Technology student gets hands-on experience both at school and on the job

Edward Rivas is a Surgical Technology student at TSTC’s Harlingen location. (Photo courtesy of TSTC)
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HARLINGEN Edward Rivas always had his heart set on working in the medical field, and he is making that dream a reality.

After going to work for Valley Baptist Medical Center as a surgical attendant in 2020, Rivas was encouraged by some of the staff there to join the Associate of Applied Science degree program in Surgical Technology at Texas State Technical College, where he is now in his first semester.

“I help take care of around 20 operating rooms,” he said of his job. “I transport patients, refill and unload medical supplies, run blood tests, sometimes set up special equipment for a surgery, and other duties.”

Priscilla Martinez is a clinical supervisor at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

“Edward does a great job of accomplishing the tasks that he’s been given,” she said. “He makes himself available for the nurses and surgical technicians during surgical cases.”

Rivas’ interest in health care was first sparked through his family.

“Two of my uncles who are nurses would tell stories about their jobs when I was growing up,” he said. “What they talked about caught my attention.”

Mark Braswell is one of Rivas’ instructors at TSTC.

“(Edward’s) experience working in the operating room allows him to understand the dynamic and intensity of what he’s learning to become a surgical technologist,” Braswell said.

Rivas said the college is preparing him for success.

“I definitely feel driven to succeed,” he said. “I know there will be something promising when I finish.”

According to onetonline.org, surgical technologists earn a yearly median salary of $59,810 in Texas, where projected job growth for the profession was forecast to increase 18% from 2020 to 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology, as well as an occupational skills achievement award in Sterile Processing, at its Harlingen campus.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.