Maddie Newell

  • Surgical Technology

She always pictured herself working in healthcare. After a few job shadowing experiences, Maddie knew the surgical unit was where she wanted to be. Today she's working as a Certified Surgical Technologist at UPMC. She enjoys patient care and the dynamic environment of the OR. Since graduating with her associate's in Surgical Technology, Maddie earned her bachelor's in Health Science and will be working towards becoming a physician assistant where she hopes to spend even more time serving patients. 


Maddie Newell

Q&A with Maddie

What drew you to Penn College?

I went to a few summer camps at Penn College in high school so I was already familiar with and loved the campus. 

When I learned more about the surgical technology program, I found out that they provide students with hundreds of hours of clinical experience before graduation and the placement rate was 100%. I loved that the class sizes were small and I felt that I would get a quality education and individualized help as needed.

What excites you most about this field?

Surgery is an ever changing and evolving field of medicine. New technology and medical advancements mean that no two cases are the same. Even the easiest cases can become difficult based on a patient's anatomy or the surgical approach needed for the case. Although most cases start the same way, you never know what you might find once you open someone up. This field provides me the opportunity to continuously learn and grow, which I am so grateful for.

What’s a typical day look like?

It is hard to describe a typical day because the OR is such an atypical environment. I work weekends, which means we generally only get urgent or emergent cases. It is always a surprise when I walk in to see what cases are on the board that day. We pick what rooms we want to start in for the day, but from there we never know what cases will end up for the rest of the day. For each case, I am responsible for setting up the sterile supplies and instrumentation for the procedure, maintaining sterility throughout the case, anticipating the needs of the surgeon, and assisting them as needed. It is our goal for the case to run as smoothly as possible. We must work quickly and as a team.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It is extremely rewarding to know that you are working on and advocating for a patient that is unable to do so for themself. The patient consents for the procedure, but once they are asleep, it is up to the surgical team to make the best decisions for that patient.

What prompted you to pursue your bachelor’s?

After spending more time in the operating room, I realized that I wanted the opportunity to see these patients before and after their procedure. As a surgical technologist, I really only see patients for their procedures. I wanted to work with the patient in a more holistic manner by helping to diagnose and treat their symptoms as well as see how well they heal. I decided to pursue my bachelor's degree so that I could attend physician assistant school and have the opportunity to work with patients before, during, and after surgery. I graduated in December of 2023 with my bachelor's and I will be attending Thomas Jefferson University’s physician assistant program beginning in July of 2024.

If someone were interested in the Surgical Technology program at Penn College, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that they will love their time at Penn College. Over the four years I spent there, it became a second home to me. The surgical technology program at Penn College will set you apart from other programs. All the teachers are/were practicing surg techs. Clinical experience starts your first year and the placement rate is 100%. The program will prepare you for clinical and clinical will thoroughly prepare you to practice after graduation.

Real-World Ready
Fueling her passion with scholarship support

Fueling her passion with scholarship support

The Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting selected Maddie as one of its 2021 scholarship recipients.

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Promoting suicide prevention

Promoting suicide prevention

As Alpha Chi President, Maddie attended a campus-wide suicide prevention event where she promoted academic success resources.

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Surgical Technology

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