David Cimmino '15
Until five years ago, David Cimmino didn’t know what a surgical technologist was. He found himself out of work for 3 months and decided it was time for a change. He always had an interest in the medical field, but life took him down another path. “My mother-in-law told me about a career where I could work with a surgeon from start to finish,” Cimmino said. “And best of all, I didn’t need to go to school for a decade to do it.” At the age of 40, David was intimidated, of the program and its requirements. “I was a horrible high school student; there was no way I was smart enough to take on such a commitment.” Cimmino said. It was also the worst possible time for David to change careers, with the birth of a second child, a new mortgage and the financial responsibility for his family. “The funny thing is, when my wife and I put it on paper, it wasn’t going to be possible, but we knew that we had to try,” Cimmino said. “I still don’t know how we did it. I strongly believe, now more than ever if you commit to working hard, have supportive family and great instructors, anything is possible.”
After shadowing a Surgical Technologist he was hooked. The thought of having an amazing career in just a couple years, was enough for David to put his fears aside a take that leap. David chose Great Bay’s program over others for one simple reason, national certification. He is able to take his degree to any hospital anywhere in the country. After asking a charge nurse at a local hospital what she thought about GBCC’s program, his confidence grew. “She assured me that a degree from Great Bay along with passing the certification exam would be very appealing to her or any other hospital.” Over the last 5 years, 99% percent of (GBCC) graduates have passed the CST exam and accepted job offers within weeks of graduating.
The only Associate in Science degree program in the area, Great Bay takes prides in its existing relationship (with area hospitals). “Our local hospital affiliation really sets us apart,” said Kristin Whitney, Surgical Technology Program Coordinator. “Students receive excellent clinical experience; over 300 cases 900 hours and most of the local hospitals hire our graduates and often call me for referrals. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and our students come out ahead.”
In addition to being trained in sterile and aseptic techniques, surgical technologists anticipate the move of the surgeon. This requires knowledge of hundreds of surgical procedures and the ability to adapt. During clinical, David had a case with a known tough surgeon who demanded a good scrub. Not wanting to delay or disappoint the surgeon, David focused on his first solo case. “Few words were spoken before and after the surgery, and I sensed he needed me to move quicker,” Cimmino said. “After the final stitch, he held out a closed fist for me to hit and said, “Nice job” those words made me feel like I was looked at as a scrub and not just a student.”
Before graduating, David accepted a position with Holy Family Hospital. “It’s an incredible feeling to know I made this happen for me and my family.” David is proud and honored to be a graduate of the Surgical Technology program at Great Bay. “I can’t thank all of my instructors enough for giving me this incredible opportunity,” Cimmino said. “It has been a tremendous amount of hard work, but worth every second.”