Assistants

There is considerable confusion on the internet about the role of a surgical assistant. An operating surgeon requires assistance for all operations, even the most minor. This may be provided by the scrub nurse who handles the instruments, by another nurse or by qualified medical personnel. In my practice assistants do not carry out any aspect of the operation, their function is to pass instruments, hold retractors to aid visibility and to cut sutures when necessary. This is very different from a junior surgeon, on a training programme, within the NHS who may, usually under supervision, carry out all or part of an operation.

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