Thomas Silvera is living proof that confidence and determination can help overcome obstacles and lead to fulfilling your dreams. At 42 years old, this graduate of Swedish Institute is launching a new chapter in his life by becoming a surgical technologist and setting his sights on a cutting-edge future.
Why Surgical Technology
Throughout his early years, Thomas was plagued with severe asthma, which kept him hospitalized and limited his activity growing up. As he grew older, he eased his way into exercising, which helped to strengthen him both physically and mentally. His newly discovered passion for exercise led him to manage health clubs for over 13 years. It wasn’t until his mother needed open heart surgery for Mitral Valve Prolapse, however, that his eyes were opened to the medical field of surgical technology.
“I began researching her condition and the surgery to gain a better understanding of what she would be going through and what we would expect,” Thomas explained. With the unfortunate experience of having spent extended time in the hospital himself, he said he was comfortable in this environment and realized then that he wanted to pursue a career to become a surgical technician. “I wanted a scrub life.”
Why Thomas Chose Swedish
Thomas researched the best programs in the surgical technology field and quickly realized that the perfect fit for him was Swedish Institute. At 40 years old, he decided he needed a career that he could be passionate about, and one that would help him provide for his wife and two sons.
“I’ll admit I was a bit overwhelmed at first,” Thomas said, “but the professors at Swedish were amazing at keeping me grounded and focused.” He went on to explain how the material and concepts can be complex, but the professors are extremely proficient in breaking it all down so the students understand everything. “The program is extremely well-rounded and prepares students to succeed in the field,” said Thomas. “It’s so much more than pushing instruments. The field encompasses so much more than that.” He said that the Swedish Institute gives its students the blueprint to set the foundation for their future. Thomas said the faculty of Swedish Institute – from the professors right down to advisers in Career Services – is by their students’ side every step of the way to help them succeed.
Finding a Job
Thomas graduated this past spring and said the Career Services department was instrumental in keeping him informed of job openings and opportunities. While he was in the process of looking for a job, he continued working his social media page on Instagram, where he posts inspirational memes and photos of the surgical technology field. Thomas’ page has grown to almost 6,000 followers and has sparked such an interest from organizations and companies that he has partnered with them as their ambassadors in the field of surgical technology.
In August, Thomas received a call for a job opening at New York City Surgical Associates. “I was thrilled over the opportunity and thankful to the Career Services department at Swedish for helping me find the job,” he said humbly. After two interviews and a two-week training in the surgical center’s operating room, Thomas was offered the job. “It’s more than I ever imagined,” said Thomas. “I not only work in general surgeries, but the center performs vascular surgeries, which broadens my scope even further.”
Surgical technology has set the pace in the industry, as employment is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016-2026 – faster than the average for all occupations, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“I’m proud to call myself a surgical technologist and I have Swedish Institute to thank for helping me get there,” Thomas said humbly. “It’s important to remember it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you start – it’s where you finish that matters.”
Thinking about a career in Surgical Technology? Check out this page to learn more about Swedish Institute and our Surgical Technology program.