Announcements2020-08-14T08:37:05-06:00

Announcements

2020 Annual Report Extended Until 2021; COVID-19 FAQs & Plan of Action Form Available; Recent Webinar Recording & Resources Released2020-08-10T11:23:33-06:00

The ARC/STSA recognizes and commends administrators, program directors, and faculty for their steadfast commitment to the education and preparation of competent entry-level surgical technologists and surgical assistants, especially during these unprecedented times.

The ARC/STSA Board of Directors and staff are working to support our educators as you continue to fulfill your mission to serve your students.  As such, we have made adjustments to the annual reporting process and have developed additional resources to support you.

2020 Annual Reporting

The launch of the 2020 Annual Report for both surgical technology and surgical assisting programs has been extended until January of 2021 due to the extreme challenges that our programs are facing.  We understand and appreciate the extraordinary amount of time you have devoted and continue to devote to safely provide a quality education to your students in the midst of daily uncertainty. Therefore, programs will be responsible for completing and submitting a 2020 Annual Report, but not until early 2021.

Reporting Temporary Changes Due to COVID-19 

The ARC/STSA recognizes that programs have had to make difficult decisions to delay or interrupt studies, offer limited or redesigned coursework, and/or initiate different approaches and strategies influenced by individual institutional policies/procedures, and governmental regulations throughout this pandemic.  We understand that these plans are fluid as the public health environment shifts across the country.

As such, programs are no longer being asked to submit notifications of these temporary, nonsubstantive changes due to the pandemic to info@arcstsa.org as requested in March. Instead, programs are asked to record these changes on a newly created, COVID-19 Plan of Action form, and maintain this form in your files to track the temporary changes your program initiates that are directly related to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  The COVID-19 Plan of Action form does not need to be submitted at this time, this information will be submitted as part of the annual reporting process.  In the meantime, the ARC/STSA will distribute brief surveys to gather information regarding our programs’ status through December 2020. Click the box below to link to the form, which is posted on the ARC/STSA website under the COVID-19 page and the Forms & Facts page.

COVID-19 FAQs

The ARC/STSA has compiled a list of responses to frequently asked questions as guidance for programs working to address the specific needs of their students, graduates and communities of interest in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please click the link below to download the FAQ sheet, which is posted on the ARC/STSA website under the COVID-19 page.

Webinar Recording and Resources: Maintaining Safety & Quality When Reopening Labs

Many thanks to everyone who attended our inaugural webinar on July 10 sponsored by the ARC/STSA, EdAccred and AST. The recording of the webinar is posted on the ARC/STSA website along with resources from EdAccred and our panelists. The materials are available to all; so if you were not able to join and hear the insights shared by three of our experienced program directors, be sure to access the presentation slides, recording and additional resources linked below.

Thank you for your tireless work, late nights and problem solving throughout this pandemic.  We greatly appreciate your dedication to your students and commitment to the surgical technology and surgical assisting professions, public health and patients.  And, as always, if we may be of assistance, please reach out to us at info@arcstsa.org or 303.694.9262.
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Contact the ARC/STSA at info@arcstsa.org for more information.
FAQs During the COVID-19 Crisis – July 21, 20202020-08-06T15:59:32-06:00

The ARC/STSA commends administrators, program directors, and faculty for their commitment to the education and preparation of competent entry‐level surgical technologists and surgical assistants, especially during these challenging times. We recognize that during the pandemic, programs have had to make difficult decisions to delay or interrupt studies, offer limited or redesigned coursework, and/or initiate different approaches and strategies influenced by individual institutional policies/procedures, and local, state and federal regulations.

The ARC/STSA is committed to supporting each of our programs as they work through these challenges to ensure that students receive the required education per the surgical technology and surgical assisting core curricula and CAAHEP Standards.

We have compiled a list of responses to frequently asked questions as guidance for programs working to address the specific needs of their students, graduates, and communities of interest. (Click FAQ box below to read or download.)

Please note that the guidance and allowances provided are effective during the public health crisis and will conclude on December 31, 2020, unless otherwise specified by the ARC/STSA. A COVID‐19 Plan of Action form has been developed to track a program’s temporary changes throughout the pandemic. This information and supporting documentation should be maintained by the program and will be submitted with its Annual Report in early 2021.

Plan of Action Form for Program Interruption Due to COVID-192020-08-10T11:29:39-06:00

This form will serve as a record of plans and actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Detail all temporary program changes due to the pandemic and associated action plans below.  The form and copies of relevant correspondence and back-up documentation should be maintained in your program files and updated as necessary.  Do not submit this form to ARC/STSA at this time.  Information contained on this Plan of Action form will be requested in 2021.  Should temporary changes become permanent in 2021, notify info@arcstsa.org to determine if additional submissions or approvals are required.

COVID-19 Extensions and Postponements – July 19, 20202020-08-06T15:52:07-06:00

At-a-glance list of ARC/STSA activities that have been postponed or submission deadlines that have been extended as of April 20, 2020.

Updated Resources to Support Instructors2020-08-06T15:54:35-06:00

Click on the graphic below to access a list of online learning resources to support Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting instructors.

Addendum to March 27, 2020, Updated Statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – April 23, 20202020-08-06T15:57:25-06:00

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 public health crisis has impacted every aspect of our society. The evolving nature of the crisis has challenged all of us in the education and accreditation communities to maintain a sense of normalcy and maintain Standards that have long been accepted as the minimum criteria to establish competency of program graduates. Like our programs and sponsoring institutions, the ARC/STSA continues to assess our community needs, weighing this extraordinary event as it has an evolving and ongoing impact on our programs, students, and graduates.

The ARC/STSA remains committed to being as responsive as possible to our community, while balancing what is so important to all of us, the preparation and education of competent entry-level surgical technologists and surgical assistants. In response to an increasing number of inquiries related to upcoming graduations, compliance with clinical case requirements and possible reduction of Standards criteria, the ARC/STSA has developed the following guidance for programs working to address the specific needs of their students, graduates and communities of interest.

ARC/STSA has determined to uphold the required 120 clinical case minimum as stated in the Surgical Technology Core Curriculum (6e) and 140 clinical case minimum as stated in the Surgical Assisting Core Curriculum (3e). We recognize that each accredited program may need to initiate different approaches and strategies that may be influenced by institutional policies and procedures, community needs, as well as local, state, and federal regulations. ARC/STSA provides the following guidance for CAAHEP-accredited programs.

Guidance:

Programs that graduate students with fewer cases than the required minimum as stated in the core curricula will be required to provide documentation to address non-compliance with Standard III.C. – Curriculum including documentation that demonstrates how the program determined the need for graduation prior to clinical completion. Items 1–4 below describe documentation and submission requirements:

1. Programs must make available to the ARC/STSA documentation regarding how the need for early graduation was determined, including the program’s assessment of community need; how the program determined graduate competency; and, how the program incorporated the administrative team, program advisory committee, employers and community partners into the decision-making process.

2. The program must also provide documentation that consideration was given to student enrollment agreements; institutional policy and procedure; institutional accreditation requirements, in particular requirements for program length; Fair Practices as defined by Standard V of the CAAHEP Standards for Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting; and, the program’s responsibilities to students, graduates, employers and surgical patients to assure that graduates are competent to practice as surgical technologists and surgical assistants.

3. The ARC/STSA strongly encourages the program to work with the subsequent employer of any graduates who did not meet the clinical case minimum to provide evidence of surgical procedures scrubbed until such time the graduate completes the required clinical case thresholds.

4. The ARC/STSA anticipates evaluation of all documentation submitted under the above guidelines at the time of the 2021 Annual Report submission.

5. The above process is available to programs between now and June 30, 2020. Note: this deadline may be extended at the discretion of ARC/STSA based upon the duration of the public health crisis.

The ARC/STSA understands the extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 crisis and will take into account the challenges facing our program community when assessing submitted documentation related to clinical case non-compliance with the Standards.

The ARC/STSA will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our institutions, programs, instructional staff, and students. Additional informational and support materials are under development and will be available to assist our community in addressing immediate concerns, as well as the inevitable transition back to normalcy in our community. The ARC/STSA is committed to working with each of our programs individually on their unique challenges as we share the common goal of the graduation of competent surgical technologists and surgical assistants.

Suggested Resources for the Latest Information on COVID-192020-08-06T15:44:32-06:00