Essential Functions: Surgical Technology Program

Surgical Technology program students must be able to demonstrate critical, logical and analytical thinking while also possessing motor, auditory and visual skills that enable them to meet program objectives and perform job duties required by the profession.

Disability Act Statement: Madison College complies with all provisions of the American with Disabilities Act and makes reasonable accommodations upon request for qualified individuals. If you believe you may need accommodations to assist you in performing the functions listed below, please contact the Disability Resources Services (DRS) office at (608)246-6716 or (800)322-6282 ext. 6716 (deaf students via Relay 711) or email(link sends e-mail).

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Move within confined spaces
  • Maintain balance in multiple positions
  • Reach above shoulders (e.g., adjust overhead lights)
  • Reach below waist (e.g., plug electrical appliance into wall outlet)
  • Reach out front

Fine Motor Skills:

  • Pick up objects with hands
  • Grasp small objects with hands firm and slight pressure (ex. surgical instruments, sutures)
  • Write with pen or pencil
  • Key/type (e.g., use a computer)
  • Pinch/pick or otherwise work with fingers (e.g., manipulate a syringe)
  • Twist (e.g., turn objects/knobs using hands)
  • Squeeze with finger (e.g., eye dropper)
  • Manual dexterity
  • Finger dexterity
  • Simultaneous use of hands, wrists, fingers
  • Coordinate eye-hand and eye-hand foot (e.g., pumping soap dispenser and surgical scrub)

Physical Endurance:

  • Stand for long periods of time from 2-4 hours
  • Maintain same position for long periods of time
  • Sustained repetitive movements
  • Function in a fast-paced work environment for hours

Physical Strength:

  • Push and pull 50 pounds (e.g., carry instrument pans, position client, move equipment)
  • Support 50 pounds of weight (e.g., hold arm or leg)
  • Lift 50 pounds (e.g., pick up a child, transfer client, bend to lift an infant or child)
  • Carry equipment/supplies (e.g., lift instrument pans)
  • Use upper body strength (e.g., retraction, physically restrain a client)
  • Squeeze with hands (e.g., operate fire extinguishers)

Mobility (ability to):

  • Stand
  • Walk
  • Twist, turn
  • Bend, stoop, squat
  • Sit
  • Climb stairs
  • Move quickly


  • Ability to hear normal speaking level sounds (e.g., person to person conversation, request for an instrument)
  • Hear faint voices and body sounds (e.g., heartbeat)
  • Ability to discriminate speech in presence of background noises
  • Hear in situations when not able to see lips (e.g., masks are worn in the operating room)


  • See objects up to 20 inches away (e.g., information on monitor screen, identification of small needles)
  • See objects up to 20 feet away
  • Use depth perception
  • Use peripheral vision
  • Distinguish color and color intensity (e.g., color codes on supplies)
  • See in darkened room (e.g., during endoscope procedures, eye surgery)


  • Feel vibrations (e.g., palpate pulses)
  • Detect temperature (e.g., solutions)
  • Feel differences in surface characteristics
  • Feel differences in sizes, shapes
  • Detect environment temperature


  • Tolerate exposure to allergens (e.g., latex gloves, chemical substances)
  • Tolerate strong soaps
  • Tolerate strong odors
  • Exposure and tolerate unpleasant sights and sounds, electrical energy, solvents, grease, oils, slippery or uneven walking surfaces and excessive noises
  • Tolerate working in confined spaces for extended periods of time
  • Tolerate wearing protective equipment (e.g., mask, gown, gloves, glasses, laser, radiation)
  • Tolerate working indoors
  • Tolerate working in extreme temperatures


  • Read and understand written documents
  • Read digital displays


  • Ability to count, add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers
  • Compute fractions and decimals
  • Document numbers in records
  • Tell and measure time
  • Read measurement marks (e.g., rulers, scale)

Emotional Stability:

  • Establish professional relationships
  • Adapt to changing environment/stress
  • Deal with the unexpected (e.g., client condition, crisis)
  • Focus attention on task
  • Cope with own emotions
  • Perform multiple responsibilities concurrently
  • Cope with strong emotions in others (e.g., grief, anger, stress)
  • Accept constructive feedback
  • Accept responsibility for own actions

Analytical Thinking:

  • Transfer knowledge from one situation to another
  • Process and interpret information from multiple sources (written or oral)
  • Analyze and interpret abstract and concrete data
  • Evaluate outcomes
  • Problem solve
  • Prioritize tasks (e.g., time management)
  • Use long-term memory
  • Use short-term memory

Critical Thinking:

  • Identify cause-effect relationships
  • Plan/control activities (organizational skills)
  • Sequence information
  • Make decisions independently
  • Adapt decisions based on new information
  • Comprehend and follow instructions
  • Follow a process from start to finish (e.g., 2 or more step instruction)

Interpersonal Skills:

  • Establish rapport with individuals (e.g., surgeons, staff members and groups)
  • Respect/value diversity in others
  • Negotiate interpersonal conflict
  • Demonstrate tolerance in working with others
  • Function as part of a team

Communication Skills:

  • Speak English
  • Write English
  • Listen/comprehend spoken/written word
  • Collaborate with others (e.g., health care workers, peers)
  • Comprehend and exhibit non-verbal communication