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Local surgical technicians take different paths to their chosen careers

Keith Raynor and Morgan Neal have worked as surgical technicians for 19 and four years respectively but took different paths to get where they are today in their current careers.

Keith Raynor

Keith Raynor

Raynor has worked in various healthcare settings and in different roles throughout his total 27-year career, including as a housekeeper in the operating room, a sterile processing technician in the distribution center and warehouse, and as a surgical technician in the operating room.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical side of healthcare. Even while working as a housekeeper in the operating room at Sacred Heart Hospital in 1994, I absorbed everything I could because I always knew I wanted to be more involved,” Raynor said. “Then in 2003, the former Sacred Heart Hospital began offering an onsite surgical technology training program. I couldn’t wait to get started!”

Raynor says that graduating from the training program was a game changer for him. “Now, everyday offers a different challenge, whether it’s assisting surgeons or patient care,” Raynor added.

Raynor currently works with surgeons at Potomac Valley Hospital. He holds an associate degree in secondary education from Allegany College of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in English from Frostburg State University. His certification is with the National Center for Competency Testing.

“Working as a surgical technician isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll encounter sights and smells that can be daunting for some people so anyone going into this field needs to have thick skin,” Raynor said. “I do this because I love making a difference in the lives of others. I also plan to get certified as a surgical first assistant in the near future.”

Morgan Neal

Morgan Neal

Neal, who also works at WVU Potomac Valley Hospital, made the jump from family practice to the operating room while living in Colorado four years ago. “I previously worked as a licensed practical nurse in an Urgent Care facility but after having the opportunity of being in the operating room, I knew this would be my future,” Neal said. “And as an LPN, I could circulate around the operating room and assist with anesthesia while gaining on-the-job training.”

Neal graduated as a certified medical assistant in 2009, earned her licensed practical nursing degree in 2011 and is currently working on a bachelor’s degree so she can apply to a physician’s assistant program to continue her education.

“Because surgical technicians are a second pair of hands for surgeons, they need to be adept while working under stressful and emergency situations, as well as being able to act quickly and accurately. I’ve been involved with bedside nursing for some time and enjoyed it but assisting surgeons in the operating room is by far the best,” Neal added.   

Surgical technology is an in-demand field and according to JobsEQ, 5,000 plus positions will need to be filled during the next 10 years. 

Beginning this fall, WVU Potomac State College will implement its first cohort of surg-tech students. For information about the program, visit

Those interested in enrolling in the program should contact the Office of Enrollment Services at 304-788-6820 or at