Surgical Technology Program ranks 4th in the country

Students gather around instructor, Alice Erskine, and listen closely as she explains techniques that would be used in a real case scenario.  ()

Students gather around instructor, Alice Erskine, and listen closely as she explains techniques that would be used in a real case scenario. ()

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With over 400 surgical technology programs in the nation, Skyline College’s class of 2006 ranked fourth in the nation, according to www.astapae.com.

In order to complete the program, students must pass the Program Assessment Exam, which is similar to an Exit Exam. Given by the Accreditation Review Committee, a national committee that overlooks the surgical technology programs in order to ensure that proper teaching credentials are in place, the test assesses how well students have learned the material. Last year’s class of 18 students had the fourth highest-class average in the nation, as opposed to previous years where Skyline did not even make the top 20.

“I want to attribute it to the students, I really do,” said Alice Erskine, director of the surgical technology program. “Because I don’t really know what I did differently. I will give credit to one graduate who has come back and is helping me [as a lab assistant], Mary McKay.”

Skyline College is the only community college in the Bay Area that offers the program, according to Mike Williamson, dean of science, math, and technology.

It is a ten month long, full-time program. Students spend the majority of the first half in the classroom learning theory and doing in-class labs. The last half of the program is primarily spent at the hospital in the operating room.

The program began off-campus in 1992, where it was held at the Hospital Consortium of San Mateo County in Burlingame. In 2001, Skyline received a grant and was able to build the Surgical Career Center located in the portables (E3). Up until that point, almost no one knew it existed, including many