Surgical Technology Student Selected to Attend National Conference

Ulster BOCES Surgical Technology student Elisha Rickard of Wappingers Falls has been awarded a merit-based stipend to attend the Association of Surgical Technologists' (AST) annual conference from May 30-June 3 in Orlando, Florida. Rickard was selected as this year's conference winner after submitting an essay in a statewide competition sponsored by the New York State Assembly of AST.

This is the fourth consecutive year that an Ulster BOCES student was chosen to attend the national conference, which is the premier event for professionals in the perioperative industry. Attendees will participate in different educational sessions on topics including sterilization, reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, and robotic spine surgery.

Rickard's paper focused on her desire to pursue mission work where she can be part of a team providing medical services to people living in areas devastated by natural disasters and providing reconstructive surgery for children who need treatment for cleft lips and palates. Rickard says attending the symposium will give her the opportunity to network with other surgical technology and medical professionals who have similar professional interests.

"Deep down inside I have this desire to do this kind of work, to help people in other countries, to help people who don't have access to health care, like we [Americans] are used to. I want and need to make a difference in this world," she says.

Instructor Penny Foody said she is thrilled for Rickard and is very happy that an Ulster BOCES student was selected again. "Just meeting minimum standards is never our goal in the Surgical Technology program," says Foody. "When our students are rewarded with scholarships and job offers, it confirms we are on the right track."

Ulster BOCES Director of Surgical Technology Barbara Maderi says Rickard defines the word excellence. "She has proven this both in her didactic studies and in the clinical aspect," she explains. "She was also inducted to the AST National Honor Society. She's like a sponge wanting to absorb all the knowledge she can in this field. She's hard working at all times!"

Foody agrees. "This is a young woman who will go beyond becoming a model surgical technologist. With her thirst for knowledge, personal quest for excellence and her sense of helping her fellow mankind, Elisha will probably go on to become a Physician's Assistant or more. She is absolutely everything a teacher desires in a student and more."

"My instructors are amazing. They helped develop my passion for this field," says Rickard, emphasizing she was struck by how encouraging and available they were for her, whether it was communicating via text, email, or by telephone.

Rickard currently attends clinical rotations at Orange Regional Medical Center. After she completes the Surgical Technology program at Ulster BOCES in June she will be eligible to sit for the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting Certification Exam.

Surgical technologists work closely with surgeons and their teams to ensure the proper delivery and sterilization of instruments during surgical procedures. To learn more about Ulster BOCES Surgical Technology program call 845.331.5050.

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