Fairview has launched new apprenticeships for surgical techs and medical assistants

Employees who want to advance their careers get help balancing work and school

Surgical Tech Apprentice

Andrea Jacobson was working in the pre-op area of Fairview Ridges Hospital as a nursing station technician. She knew she wanted more, to further her medical career. She just needed a push.

Deborah Axmacher, Director of Perioperative and Endoscopy at the hospital, asked her if she’d like to shadow a surgical technologist – the people who make sure surgeons have all the instruments they need in the operating room. Andrea did that for a full day, applied for Fairview’s apprenticeship program, took the entrance test, and now she’s on her way.

“I work three days a week at the hospital and take classes two days a week with Rasmussen College,” Andrea says. “I’m learning about a new instrument every day. One of the surg techs took me under her wing and even gave me her hand-made flash cards to study. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to advance my career and my education at the same time.”

Fairview has successfully launched three apprenticeship programs since 2017 – first for nurses and now for surgical technologists and medical assistants.

Apprenticeships are more common in construction and manufacturing. But with the cost of education rising and many people coming into the workforce with less education than those exiting, Fairview saw an opportunity to expand the concept to health care.

The programs benefit both the employee and Fairview. Fairview grows a more skilled workforce, while employees get better access to high-demand jobs, higher wages, and a more secure career path.

The Fairview Nursing Apprenticeship program – helping nurses with two-year degrees get their bachelor’s – is the largest in the country. We now have three surgical technologist apprentices and two medical assistant apprentices, and we’re accepting applications for more.

Applicants must be accepted into the surgical technologist or medical assistant program at Rasmussen College, which has eight locations in the Twin Cities. They work as a .6 full-time employee so they have time for a combination of online and in-class learning.

Surgical technologist apprentices complete their program in 21 months and medical assistant apprentices in one year, then transition into their new area of expertise at Fairview.

To learn more, contact Regina Pekarek at rpekare1@fairview.org.

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