Student externship opportunity ‘mutually beneficial’ for ACTC, St. Claire HealthCare | ACTC

Student externship opportunity ‘mutually beneficial’ for ACTC, St. Claire HealthCare

March 31, 2022

ASHLAND, Ky. – Heather Cantrell, Surgical Technology program coordinator, is excited to announce that her program will be partnering for a second year with St. Claire HealthCare (SCH) to offer paid externships to Surg Tech students. 

“St. Claire has always received students from ACTC, and we always appreciate the caliber of students that we get from them, but we had a moment in time last fall when we didn’t have a whole lot of scrub techs. We had open positions, so we were trying to think of how we could get people in the operating room and create something mutually beneficial for ACTC and us,” said Amanda Hall, Director of Perioperative Services at St. Claire HealthCare. 

As a result, Hall, along with Kayla Harrison, Director of Talent Management, recruited two students from the Surg Tech program to complete an externship at the hospital. In the past, SCH had offered nurse externships, so Hall worked to determine a way to get Surg Tech students the “real-life” experiences they needed while meeting a crucial need for the hospital. 

“Not only are they coming here to learn, but they are also getting real-life experience and a good letter of recommendation if they do well with us,” said Hall. “They are getting call experience, c-section experience, and emergency case experience, among other things.” 

ACTC’s Surgical Technology students begin their coursework in January and take courses and complete lab hours at ACTC Monday through Friday until their clinical hours start. On their days off from clinicals, students have the opportunity, if selected, to work extern hours at SCH. Their extern hours do not count toward the clinical hours that students are required to have as a part of the program. 

The program is one-year long. 

“We gear toward employment and getting students hired, and this partnership helps out with that. Once they finish their externship, there is the possibility that they could be offered a full-time position,” said Cantrell.

St. Claire HealthCare currently has one open tech position and is bringing two Surg Tech students on board for externships this summer. With six students in this year’s Surgical Technology cohort, students will be interviewing for the two externship spots. 

“While it may be that just one of them is offered the full-time position, the other does get valuable work experience they can put on their application to another facility. It makes them more marketable,” said Hall.

ACTC is the only college that SCH partners with for Surgical Technology externships. Both students who completed externships at the facility last year were offered full-time positions at the hospital. 

ACTC’s Surg Tech program had 100 percent job placement for the 2021 cohort. Along with the two students that were hired at SCH, two students were hired at King’s Daughters, one at Three Rivers Medical Center, one at Miami Valley Hospital, and one at OhioHealth Berger Hospital, according to Cantrell.

The application deadline for admission in the 2023 cohort is October 1. 

For more information about the Surgical Technology program, visit