Southeastern Technical College

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Library: Room 143, Administration Building
Computer Lab: Room 803, Gillis Building

Swainsboro Campus
Library: Room 2165, Instructional Building
Computer Lab: Room 8133, Building 8

Text Us @ 912-388-0343

For more information:

Leah Dasher
Director of Library Services
Vidalia Campus
Swainsboro Campus
(912) 538-3186


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STC Student Thrives as First Assistant in Meadows Regional OR

February 20, 2013 - John Allen, a graduate of Southeastern Tech’s Surgical Technology department, knows how to handle stress in the operating room. He understands that as a First Assistant, you are the middle man between doctor and patient. No two days are ever the same in the operating room (OR). While the majority of surgeries are textbook cases, there are a few exceptions that you must be prepared for.

“You always go through the worst case scenario,” said Allen, a lifelong resident of Toombs County and graduate of Vidalia High School. “You have to be able to handle each situation differently.”

John chose STC’s Surgical Technology department after looking into nursing and radiology and realizing that he enjoyed the thrill of the OR and seeing full-circle patient care, from diagnosis to surgery to recovery. He was inspired by STC Surgical Technology Instructor Deborah Smith, who is known for pushing her students to excel in the classroom and continue learning even after they are in their career field.

“A lot of people don’t know their potential,” said Smith, who has been with Southeastern Tech for nine years. “I challenge my students. I ask them why.”

After Smith “kicked him into gear,” Allen went on to graduate in January 2008 with a surgical technology diploma and was hired within a week at Meadows Regional Medical Center. A year later he began work with Dr. Cullen Scott and became a Medical First Assistant.

STC’s courses taught Allen about patient care, infection control, and interaction with physicians. Smith’s classes learn anatomy, microbiology, and pharmacology in order to better prepare them for those crucial moments in the OR.

“It’s nothing like what you see on TV,” said Smith, who became a registered nurse in 1980. “You have to know that nothing is perfect and put the skills you learn to real life application.”

Allen and Smith know that it takes a hard working team to run a hospital. Doctors and surgical assistants work side by side to provide the best care possible. Smith also states that this field is a thriving one.

“People will get sick and need surgery regardless of the economy,” she stated. “I have seen this field grow tremendously.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, 48 million inpatient surgeries are performed each year in the U.S.

For more information on STC’s Surgical Technology program, visit or call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200.

Photo: John Allen (right) credits much of his success to his former instructor, Deborah Smith (left).