Concorde Blog - Sep 24, 2020
We are proud of the diverse backgrounds of our students and staff. Our Concorde community is a melting pot of different up-bringing's, nationalities and educational levels.
A Concorde Tampa Alumni, Mario Mercado, is a success story that speaks to Concorde's values and our students' dedication to working hard towards a rewarding healthcare career. He always had been interested in medicine and pursued studies in biology at a university in his hometown in Puerto Rico. Soon after Mario moved to the United States mainland, he learned about - and was accepted into - our surgical technology program that helped launch his career as a surgical technician.
Training with Concorde
Mercado, who primarily spoke Spanish growing up, was ready to start his health care training at Concorde. He fell behind on some reading-based assignments, but quickly realized that his peers and our instructors were ready to help.
Our Surgical Technologist instructors worked with him after class so he could get a better grasp of certain concepts. Lectures were slowed down to help increase his understanding and encourage him to use the Concorde computer labs.
"Nicole Lambert, the Surgical Technology Program director, also went above and beyond to make sure I was successful," Mercado said. "She would often check in with me during labs to make sure I was doing okay, and her encouraging words changed my life. She made me believe I could do it and inspired me to put in 100 percent effort."
Mercado worked harder than ever in the classroom and flourished in our program's lab courses. Seeing the equipment and practicing techniques in person built his love for the field even more. He raised his hand at every opportunity to get involved, whether it was answering a question during a lecture or demonstrating a skill during a lab.
Graduation and Job Placement
As graduation approached, Mercado started looking for a job. Our Concorde team provided guidance throughout the job search process, helping Mercardo build a resume, apply for jobs and coordinate informational interviews with alumni.
One of our clinical instructors took it a step further by helping Mercardo secure a position at Tampa General Hospital.
"My clinical instructor heard there was an opening in the cardiac operating room (OR) and decided to take me there," he said. "She felt I could make an impression and show the department that I could really perform. I applied for the job, and they immediately hired me right before I graduated."
Mercado's day-to-day work includes anticipating the surgeon's needs in the operating room and ensuring sterile techniques that prevent patients from acquiring an infection. He is the last person a patient sees before entering the OR, and the first they see when they wake up from a surgery.
"Surgical techs do it all," said Mercado. "We help when it comes to the patient, we can help the nurses, and we do things that allow the surgeon to perform surgery. It is truly amazing what we are capable of doing and I love the amount of support we offer in and out of the OR."
Hard Work Pays Off
After three years at Tampa General, Mercado started a new position at Largo Medical Center where he has worked for over five years and was recently promoted to certified surgical first assist.
Through his first job, Mercado found a love for cardiology and has a specialization in the field. He is now not only responsible for assisting surgeons, sterilizing tools and prepping the operating room, but he also gets to practice more complex work. His favorite part of the job is endoscopically harvesting veins and surgically assisting during coronary artery bypasses.
"I couldn't be more grateful to Concorde for preparing me for a career that I love," Mercado said. "I am forever thankful that I get to help people every day."
There is a need for many more surgical technicians like Mercado.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 7 percent job growth for surgical technologists between 2019 -2029.
Concorde Career Colleges offers a Surgical Technology program on multiple campuses across the country.