Surgical Services

Surgical Services

When you join our Division of Surgical Services, you become a vital member of a multidisciplinary health care team where your expertise is valued. You'll discover a culture of teamwork, professionalism and mutual respect. You’ll also become part of Mayo Clinic's legacy of inspiring hope, contributing to wellbeing, and delivering personalized care that reflects the dignity and worth of each patient.


Whether you have a vocational certificate or an Associate, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree, Mayo Clinic's multidisciplinary, team-oriented work environment presents opportunities that are rarely experienced elsewhere. The Division of Surgical Services delivers comprehensive perioperative and perianesthesia care across a wide range of surgical specialties. Surgical teams here at Mayo Clinic perform high volumes of complex operations including neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery and transplant surgery. You have the choice of becoming an operating room registered nurse, surgical technologist, or patient care assistant. You will change lives here—especially your own.

The Division of Surgical Services delivers the highest standard in comprehensive perioperative and perianesthesia care across a wide range of surgical specialties. A multidisciplinary, collaborative approach contributes to quality patient care and outcomes. Surgical specialties offered vary by Mayo Clinic site.

  • Anesthesiology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Cardiovascular
  • Colon and rectal
  • Cosmetic
  • Endoscopy
  • General and Bariatric
  • Gynecology
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Neurologic
  • Ophthalmology
  • Oral and maxillofacial
  • Orthopedic
  • Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)
  • Pain
  • Pediatrics
  • Perianesthesia
  • Perioperative and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU)
  • Plastic and reconstructive
  • Robotics
  • Thoracic
  • Transplant
    • Bone marrow
    • Cornea
    • Face
    • Hand
    • Heart
    • Kidney
    • Liver
    • Lung
    • Pancreas
  • Trauma and critical care
  • Urology
  • Vascular and endovascular
Patient Care Assistant (PCA) or Patient Care Technician (PCT)

Under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), this position assists the nursing staff with delegated tasks such as transporting patients, stocking supplies, retrieving and maintaining equipment, obtaining vital signs, and red bag material monitoring. Patients may need assistance with feeding, dressing and mobility support. Requirements for this position can range from a high school diploma or GED only to requiring a specific type of entry-level health care training or experience.

Anesthesia Technician
As an anesthesia technician, you assist physicians and other medical and surgical support staff by sterilizing equipment, practicing infection control and aseptic technique, and ensuring all rooms and carts are adequately stocked with in-date supplies. Under supervision of the anesthesia provider, you will assist with preparing medications and the insertion of invasive monitoring devices. Technicians also perform patient ID procedures and operate surgical equipment under the direction of a licensed provider. The ability to assess data reflecting the patient's status and appropriately interpret that information relative to the patient's age is required. You must have a high school diploma or GED. Medical terminology, vocational training in the medical field and basic understanding of body mechanics is helpful in this role.
Surgical Core Technician, Instrument Processing Technician, or Central Sterile Processing Technician
The surgical core technician supports the operating room team in caring for surgical patients. Under the supervision of the nurse manager and core supervisor, you will prepare and deliver medical and surgical supplies, instruments, and equipment for surgical procedures. You will also clean, package and processes surgical equipment and instrumentation and maintain inventory and storage of supplies. Requirements for this position can vary by Mayo Clinic site and may require a high school diploma or GED only or experience in the field. Certifications in this field are preferred and are required at some sites.
Certified Surgical Technologist or Surgical Technician
As a certified surgical technologist (CST) or surgical technician (ST), you will assist in caring for patients in the operating and procedure rooms. This position is an integral part of the surgical team, working closely with the surgeon. The surgical tech is responsible for selecting, preparing and maintaining instruments, equipment, and supplies for each surgery. Situations can be unpredictable within the perioperative setting, and the surgical tech must be able to adapt, make quick decisions, and assist the team. Knowledge of anatomy, instruments, patient safety and sterile technique is a must. Some Mayo Clinic sites require a Certification in Surgical Technology from either the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) or the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), along with graduation from an accredited and/or hospital-approved surgical technology program. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is required. Other sites may only require the education requirements.
Certified Surgical Assistant or Surgical Assistant
A certified surgical assistant (CSA) or surgical assistant (SA) functions in the first or second assistant role, working alongside the surgeon during procedures and anticipating the surgeon’s needs. This position requires a strong understanding of human anatomy, principles of aseptic technique, and knowledge of the perioperative procedural policies and guidelines. A few primary surgical skills for the surgical assistant are suturing, proper use of surgical instruments and proper positioning of patients. Requirements for this position can vary by site. Some require certification through the National Surgical Assistant Association (NSAA). Educational requirements may include an associate degree from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) surgical assistant program or an NSAA-approved program of surgical assisting. Previous surgical experience as a surgical technician or surgical assistant may be required.
RN Operating Room (Perioperative)
The registered nurse circulates in the operating room and coordinates the surgical team in all aspects of OR activities, providing optimum perioperative nursing care to patients and functioning as the patients' advocate. Circulating responsibilities include managing care in the OR while creating a safe, organized environment for the entire surgical team. Critical thinking, informed monitoring, accurate assessment and a focus on patient safety are essential. Requirements for this position include graduation from an accredited school of nursing and a state-specific RN license. Previous operating room experience also may be required. Educational requirements may vary by site. The Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree may be required for some sites and preferred at others.
RN Perianesthesia
In this registered nurse role, you will prepare patients before complex surgical cases, including organ transplants and outpatient surgery. You provide professional nursing care and education to patients and family members while demonstrating compassion to patients, families and surgical team members. Requirements include graduation from an accredited school of nursing and a state-specific RN license. Previous operating room experience also may be required. Educational requirements may vary by site. The Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree may be required for some sites and preferred at others.
Registered Nurse Team Lead
As RN team lead, you are the formal and informal leader in the unit while collaborating with the management staff in daily planning and coordination of the assigned specialty area, work unit or department. Team leads are the first-line response to resolve issues for the patient, family, physician and other departments for the nurse supervisor or manager. The team leader provides leadership in developing staff, teaching, community involvement, committee work, and participation in evidence-based practice and research. Requirements for this position include graduation from an accredited school of nursing and a state-specific RN license. The Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree is required for this position. Previous nursing experience is required for this role, and the amount of experience may vary depending on the department and site. This position may not be found at all Mayo Clinic sites.
Registered Nurse Supervisor
The registered nurse supervisor is the first-line manager responsible for patient care, operations management and staff development. Your responsibility in this role includes 24-hour clinical management accountability. Your leadership creates a professional environment for quality patient care. You will collaborate with all other Mayo services to enhance and deliver appropriate patient care. Leadership extends to community involvement and participation in teaching, committees and research. Requirements include graduation from an accredited school of nursing and a state-specific RN license. This position requires a Bachelor's degree in nursing and previous nursing experience. A Master's degree and leadership experience are preferred. This position may not be found at all Mayo Clinic sites.
Registered Nurse Manager
The nurse manager is a role model with global perspective who demonstrates leadership skills and is accountable to implement the mission, vision and philosophy statements of Mayo Clinic and the Division of Surgical Services. As Nurse Manager you establish standards of perioperative practice and continuous improvement initiatives. The nurse manager has fiscal accountability and operational management for a surgical specialty. Working in collaboration with the director, surgical services administrator, and operations administrator, you will establish a strategic plan incorporating practice, education, and research. Position requirements may vary by site. A master's degree in nursing may be required or preferred depending on previous nursing experience and the site.
Clinical Nurse Educator or Nurse Education Specialist
A clinical nurse educator or nurse education specialist supports standards of practice, establishes staff education and training programs, and facilitates clinical research in the service area. You will collaborate with members of the nursing leadership team in Surgical Services to develop staff education plans, then provide the appropriate education to meet those plans and regulatory standards. In addition, nurse educators establish clinical standards of practice and ensure that standards of the surgical professional organization — such as AORN, AST and ASPAN — are met. Education and experience requirements vary among sites. A master's degree in nursing may be required or preferred, and other master's degrees may be considered if a bachelor's degree in nursing is completed. Previous RN experience is required to be considered for this role.
Nurse Administrator
As nurse administrator, you are responsible for the overall management of a nursing department or division. You are accountable for managing within the context of the enterprise, transforming organizational values into daily operations. This includes managing designated clinical nursing practice as well as evidence-based programs, systems and services. You will also develop, implement, maintain, and evaluate policies, programs and services related to assigned functions. The nurse administrator participates in assessing the environment, forecasting trends, transmitting values, communicating ideas, coaching and mentoring others, managing resources, and assuring that core values are implemented. Education and experience requirements vary by site. A master's degree in nursing may be required or preferred, and other master's degrees may be considered if a bachelor's degree in nursing is completed. Previous nursing leadership experience is required to be considered for this role.
Beginning Your Surgical Services Career Path
  • Patient Care Assistant (PCA) or Patient Care Technician (PCT)
  • Anesthesia Technician
  • Surgical Core Technician, Instrument Processing Technician or Central Sterile Processing Technician
Opportunities with a Vocational Certificate or Associate Degree
  • Certified Surgical Technologist or Surgical Technician
  • Certified Surgical Assistant or Surgical Assistant
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative and Perianesthesia)
Opportunities with a Bachelor's Degree
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative and Perianesthesia)
  • Registered Nurse Team Lead
  • Registered Nurse Supervisor
  • Registered Nurse Manager
Opportunities with a Master's Degree
  • Clinical Nurse Educator or Nurse Education Specialist
  • Registered Nurse Manager
  • Director
  • Nurse Administrator

Visit the Mayo Clinic nursing career profile to find out more about education and career growth opportunities in nursing.

Arizona

Nurse Residency Program — A one-year orientation program that assists new nursing school graduates in transitioning from a graduate to a fully competent, professional nurse at Mayo Clinic. Student Nurse Extern Summer Program — A summer program that offers nursing students an opportunity to gain valuable clinical experience in a high-acuity and diverse patient population.

Florida

Nurse Residency Program — A yearlong evidence-based program that builds leaders at the bedside by assisting new graduate nurses as they transition from being students to being competent, skilled registered nurses. This program consists of a series of seminars, discussions, simulations and classroom instruction. Perioperative Nursing Program — A 24-week program that offers licensed registered nurses, new graduates or experienced nurses high-quality didactic and clinical experiences needed to become a well-rounded, fully competent perioperative registered nurse.

Minnesota

Nurse Residency Program — A yearlong training program that provides you an additional opportunity as a newly licensed nurse to develop your leadership skills and receive support during your transition from student nurse to competent professional nurse. Summer III Nursing Externship — A 10-week employment experience that allows junior nursing students to work alongside a registered nurse clinical coach to provide patient care in a team environment.

Meet Mayo Clinic surgical services staff members and learn about their experiences.

Catherine, Certified Surgical Technologist, Mayo Clinic Health System In Cannon Falls, Minnesota

I became a certified surgical technician as I had a general interest in the science of human anatomy and the fascination of the "art" that goes behind doing a surgery. Whether for healing or for cosmetic purposes, surgeons make a difference in people's lives every day, and that's why I wanted to work closely with them. I wanted to be a Mayo Clinic employee because it's one of the most talked about and respected hospitals known everywhere. Mayo ensures that the needs of the patients come first.

Janete, Urology Registered Nurse Team Lead, Arizona
I decided on surgical services nursing when I did my clinical rotation in nursing school. The appeal to me was the focus on one patient at the time, and the sense that although you come back the next day and start over again, there is a beginning and a resolution to the cases. I worked for another organization with Mayo Clinic urologists and was able to compare the work ethic and energy that they brought to the care of the patients, and how the concept of teamwork was not only a slogan but also a way of life. I joined Mayo as a staff nurse to team lead the surgical team. The sense of community and teamwork at Mayo is unique to this institution. As an employee I feel cared for, and in turn I am able to help deliver the best care for our patients.
Stephan, Operating Room Registered Nurse, Florida
Surgical Services chose me. I took a job in sterile processing, just to get a foot in the door of a hospital. Once I started, I realized how interesting all the instruments were and enjoyed hearing the operating room staff speak about the cases they did. The operating room gave me the opportunity to observe on many occasions, and I quickly fell in love. Once I earned my RN degree, I quickly and eagerly accepted a position in the operating room. I love the way it allows you to focus on one patient and give the best that you can to that one patient. What sets Mayo Clinic apart from other organizations is that the culture and atmosphere of the workplace is truly centered on the patients. Furthermore, to serve our patients better, most of my colleagues — nurses and technicians and assistants alike — are working toward advanced degrees. I can honestly say that I feel supported in the pursuit of education to advance patient care. Working at Mayo Clinic is life-changing because I am touching the lives of extremely sick families and my piece of the puzzle helps to get them back to normal. The collaboration between physicians and all other providers is life-changing — I never thought that medicine could be like this.
Richard, Operating Room Registered Nurse, Arizona
What initially drew me into Mayo Clinic is the tradition and respect the organization has in the field of health care. Every year, I would notice that Mayo Clinic is consistently at the top of the U.S. News & World Report best hospital rankings. I wasn't part of building that tradition, but I wanted to be part of a team where tradition matters. I truly believe that Mayo Clinic's value of "The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered" is what sets Mayo apart from other organizations. It was true when Dr. William Mayo said it back during the early days, and it's still true today. With today's health care challenges, Mayo Clinic has been able to strike a fine balance between providing efficient, cost-effective care while also keeping the best interest of the patient at the forefront. In addition, Mayo Clinic focuses on taking care of its employees because it realizes this will only help staff take better care of patients. It is very team-oriented here, and everyone works for the common goal of doing what's best for the patient. Staffing levels are optimal compared to other organizations I have worked at, and the infrastructure is in place for safe and effective care at all levels. Considering the amount of hours the average person spends at work, how many people do you know who both actually love their career and get the proper amount of support and commitment from the organization they work for? Probably not many, but I feel I can answer "yes" to both of those questions working at Mayo Clinic, which in my opinion makes it life-changing.
Jennifer, Surgical Services Registered Nurse Manager, Rochester
I decided on a career in Surgical Services because I viewed the operating room as a place where the mechanics of life-saving and life-changing procedures occurred. I wanted to be one of the people who worked to solve those problems — one of the people behind our patients' "Mayo miracles." Nursing at Mayo Clinic is special. Each of us is part of a community with a rich history, deep roots and a track record for excellent care. We have so many resources — informational, educational, patient-oriented — and, most importantly, people who will stop what they are doing to help someone else. This is an organization where people walking out of the building to go home will turn around and walk back into the building to give directions to a family member going to the ICU to visit a loved one for the first time. There are opportunities here that do not exist elsewhere in the surrounding communities or the world. I have been able to further my education and am in the final stages of earning a Ph.D. in nursing. I have been able to hold leadership roles that allowed me to build experience and expertise as a leader while continuing my education, and everything I have learned in those other roles has helped me in my current role as a Surgical Services nurse manager. It is possible to be caring and compassionate here in a way that might not be possible in another organization.
Rick, Perioperative Registered Nurse Manager, Arizona
I was fascinated by surgery since I was a kid. In nursing school, I had the opportunity to watch a bypass open-heart surgery, which started my love for taking care of patients with cardiac problems. I was given the opportunity to attend Mayo School of Health Sciences' perioperative nursing fellowship in 2002, starting my incredible journey and career in Surgical Services. Mayo Clinic was my dream job as I went through my degree program. I believed that Mayo had the best technology and the brightest people working for them. I liked the idea of working for an organization known throughout the world for their outstanding care, where my skills could grow, and I could be part of the rich history of Mayo Clinic. We have the best people who have a common goal to meet the needs of the patient. I have never seen an organization where one value is held in such high regard by all employees. Every day, you see and hear this value throughout the organization. I have been given the opportunities to do more with my career than I ever thought I would. I never thought I would get a master's degree or be a nurse manager, but working with greatness promotes greatness and pushes you to do your best each and every day to accomplish the most difficult tasks or goals.

Current Jobs

Job Title Location
SCT - Surgical Core Tech - Float Pool Rochester - Minnesota
OR RN – Registered Nurse Surgical Services – RMC Core 7 & 8 RN Charge Rochester - Minnesota
Registered Nurse (RN) - Surgical Services (OR): Neurosurgery/Spine Rochester - Minnesota
Registered Nurse (RN) Surgical Services – Gonda 2 Core RN Charge Rochester - Minnesota
Central Service Technician La Crosse - Wisconsin
SCT - Surgical Core Tech - Core 700 Rochester - Minnesota
Certified Surgical Assistant (CSA) Rochester - Minnesota
Surgical Core Tech - SCT - Float Pool Rochester - Minnesota
SCT - Surgical Core Tech - Float Pool Rochester - Minnesota
Surgical Technologist (ST) - Fairmont Fairmont - Minnesota

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