Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA A program to turn Cherokee students into surgical technologists at W.W. Hastings Hospital is now accredited from the nation's leading health and sciences accrediting agency.
Surgical Technician Debbie Kelly Prepares the Operating Room at Hastings Hospital
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs awarded Hastings' surgical technology education program with a five year accreditation last month. The distinction means students training are qualified and up to par with national industry standards. Upon graduation of the nine month program, they can also become nationally certified, giving them a leg up on future jobs.
“Cherokee Nation is the first Native American tribe to have a surgical tech program accredited through CAAHEP,”
said Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis.
“The success of this program is the direct result of the commitment of the instructors Tommy Hays and Patricia Sumner.”
Surgical technologists handle a number of tasks critical to the surgical process, including preparing the operating room and handing the surgeons medical instruments during procedures. They also prep patients prior to surgery and move them to recovery afterwards.
The program accepts Cherokee citizens with a high school diploma or GED and without a four year degree. Tuition and books are covered.
“Now that we are accredited, students can sit for the National Certification Exam, which allows them to work anywhere in the United States,”
“They also have an opportunity to be employed and make a decent salary. The average pay in Oklahoma is $17.40 per hour. ”
Cherokee Nation Health Services is the largest tribally-owned health care system in the nation, operating nine health centers and one hospital throughout the tribe's jurisdiction. Since 2002, Cherokee Nation has had more than 4 million patient visits.
posted June 25, 2012 7:40 am edt