New York Association of Surgical Technologists


FALL 2014 Newsletter

President’s Report -  

Greetings, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. It is hard to believe that it is almost time for kids to return to school, fall colors and football, apple pies and pumpkins, Halloween, Holiday shopping, and of course the NYAST Fall conference which will be held at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn on Saturday September 27, 2014!

Your NYAST Board of Directors has been busy these past few months. Five of us (Beth Applegate-Debo, Gemma Fournier, Richard Fruscione, Kathie Falletta, and Gina McGrath) went to the AST 45th National Conference in Denver in May to learn, meet surgical techs from around the country, and represent NYAST. You elected 6 delegates at our spring conference (Beth Applegate-Debo, Lisa Dlugosz, Gemma Fournier, Richard Fruscione, Sue Jeffery and Gina McGrath, and alternate Kathie Falletta) and we were honored to represent you in the election process at the national level where we elected a new national Secretary and three board members. It is an honor and huge responsibility to make decisions at the national level that have an impact on the members of NYAST. 

The NYAST Board of Directors has made a big change to our election cycle. Due to the fact that we must submit the names of our delegates to the national conference at least 60 days before the conference, and taking into consideration the weather and potential travel difficulty to NYAST conferences held early in the spring, we have changed our election cycle to the fall.  At the NYAST fall conference this year we will be electing our delegates to the 46th AST national conference.  We will be holding our elections for President, Vice President, Treasurer, two Directors, and delegates to the 47th AST national conference next fall. There will no longer be elections in the spring.

We have made it easier for you to register for NYAST conferences by making it possible to register online and use PayPal and your credit card. We hope that this new option makes it more convenient for you! Please remember to include in the notes your membership and certification numbers, or school affiliation if you are a student, so we can keep an accurate record of your registration.  We will also be able to accept credit cards as well as cash for registration at the door, but we strongly recommend that you preregister for our planning purposes as well as room capacity limits. We don’t want to have to turn anyone away at the door!

I would like to thank the NYAST Board of Directors for all of the hard work, dedication and passion for our profession each member has put forth. We continue to strive to make NYAST stronger, and I am honored to work with a team of professional, committed and fun people who make my job as President a pleasure.  I also thank every member of NYAST for allowing me to serve as your President; the work I do for NYAST and for the profession of surgical technology is truly my passion.

Beth Applegate-Debo CST/CSFA
President, NYAST

Government and Public Affairs

The Surgical Technologist Certification law was signed by Governor Cuomo on July 31, 2013, and goes into effect January 1, 2015. We have been busy answering questions that we are receiving from clinical educators, human resource personnel, managers, surgical technology schools, and surgical technologists around the state. Linda Kerwin, NYAST Vice President and GAPA Chairperson, and Gemma Fournier, NYAST Secretary have held some informational forums in the Buffalo area, and Beth Applegate-Debo, NYAST President has held in-services in the Syracuse area to answer questions regarding the new law and how it affects surgical technologists whether certified, grandfathered or a new graduate.  We will continue to hold in-services and forums, and answer questions as long as needed. This will be one of the topics at the NYAST fall conference as well.  If you have a question, or would like one of the NYAST board members to speak at an in-service or hold a forum in your area, please contact us at boardnyast@gmail.com and we will answer your questions or try our very best to find a time for someone to come speak to your group. 

The question of pursuing legislation regarding surgical assistants in our state has been brought up to us on many occasions. Right now we are focused on the implementation of the surgical technologist certification law and do not have any plans to pursue legislation for CSFAs at this time.

Linda Kerwin, CST, RN, MA, MSN, Ed.D

Vice President, NYAST

Education  -

The NYAST fall conference at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn will be held on Saturday September 27th 2014. We are offering 6 CEU’s pending AST approval, and are looking forward to another excellent turnout, so please register ASAP. 

We are already working on our spring conference which will be held in Syracuse on Friday April 17th and Saturday April 18th, 2015. This will be a two day event with a student Scrub Bowl on Friday evening, and separate student focused presentations on Saturday in addition to the regular presentations. We are planning on 6 CEU’s pending AST approval. We are always open to suggestions for presentations, and are looking for CSTs to speak at our conferences!  If you have something you would like to see presented, or are interested in being one of our speakers (you get 1 CEU from AST for being a speaker), please contact us at boardnyast@gmail.com.  

 If you are a program director or instructor and would like more information about the Scrub Bowl please contact us at boardnyast@gmail.com . Director Richard Fruscione, program director at Kingsborough Community College, Vice President Linda Kerwin, program director at Trocaire College and Secretary Gemma Fournier, program director at Niagara County Community College, will be organizing the student Scrub Bowl.

Call for Delegates and Alternates

We will be electing six delegates and six alternates to represent NYAST at the 46th AST National Conference in San Antonio, Texas in May 2015.  This is an honor and a great responsibility, as you will be electing the AST President, Vice President, Treasurer and four Directors. 

What are Delegates and Alternates? A delegate or alternate is an active member elected by the membership to represent the members of NYAST at the National Conference and vote on behalf of the membership on all issues and elections. An alternate is expected to fulfill all requirements of a delegate except voting, and be available to step into the role of delegate if one of the delegates is unable to fulfill their obligation. Delegates and Alternates MUST attend the Opening Ceremony, Business Session One, Candidates Forum, and Business Session Two at the National Conference. NYAST also requires you to attend the Candidates Q&A Session, and sign a detailed Delegate’s Agreement.

If you are planning on going to the National Conference in Texas and would like the opportunity to represent the members of NYAST, please do the following:

  1. Contact the NYAST board at boardnyast@gmail.com as soon as possible to let us know you would like your name on the ballot this fall.
  2. Download the State Assembly Consent to Serve form by going to www.ast.org. Click on State Assemblies at the top of the page, then on State Assembly Forms. At the bottom of that page, under Delegates and Alternates, click on State Assembly Consent to Serve Form.  Fill this form out and send it to NYAST  PO Box 166 Clifton Springs, NY 14432. We must receive this form by September 13, 2014 for your name to be put on the ballot!
  3. If you are present at the NYAST Fall conference, you will be given the opportunity to give a 2 minute candidate’s speech. If you are not going to be at the fall conference, please write an essay of 250 words or less about why you would like to be a delegate or alternate to the National Conference in 2015, and send it in with your Consent to Serve. We will print these essays and distribute them to the attendees at the NYAST fall conference so they can make an educated vote for who will represent them in Texas in May.
  4. If you are elected and are present at the fall conference, you will be asked to sign the NYAST Delegate Agreement at that time. If you are elected but are not present, you will be emailed the delegate agreement and asked to download and sign it and mail it to NYAST so we receive it within seven days of the election.
  5. If you are elected, but are unable to attend the National Conference, you MUST notify NYAST at least 90 days before the National Conference that you will not be attending so we can submit the correct delegate and alternate names to AST on time.

The vote will take place at the NYAST Fall Conference on September 27, 2014. You must be an active member, present at the conference, to vote. The elected Delegates and Alternates will be announced at the Fall Conference. If someone who is not present is elected, they will be notified by phone or email within 48 hours of the election. If you have any questions, please contact us at boardnyast@gmail.com.

Fund Raising

We will be holding two raffles this fall. The first is for three AST memberships (an $80 value each), and the three winners will be drawn at the fall conference in Brooklyn on September 27th. Even if you just renewed your membership, or if you are a student, your next renewal will be on us!!!  The second raffle will be for Visa Gift Cards. First prize is a $250 card, Second Prize is a $150 card, and Third Prize is a $50 card. This drawing will be held on Black Friday (November 28, 2014) just in time for that last minute holiday shopping, and the cards will be sent to the winners in an expedited manner. This will be a multiple draw raffle, meaning that if your ticket is drawn and you win the $50 card, your ticket will be put back in and you can win the other two cards as well. You could potentially win $450 in Visa Gift cards!! Tickets for this raffle are $5 each or 6 for $25. Tickets are available from NYAST board members, or at the fall conference!


We have started using Constant Contact as a more efficient and more cost effective way to communicate with you, the members of NYAST. You will be receiving more regular email communication from us, so PLEASE make sure your email address stays updated with AST. Their database is what we use to keep in touch with you!  There is an option to unsubscribe from these emails, but we recommend that you receive these emails so you can keep informed of upcoming educational opportunities.  If you are receiving this newsletter via US mail, you do not have an email address on file with AST, and you will only receive the spring and fall newsletters by US mail.  We highly recommend updating your information with AST to include an email address if you have access to one.

Of course we also have our website ny-ast.org, and our Facebook page NYAST, and as always, you can contact the NYAST Board of Directors at boardnyast@gmail.com at any time.

In Your Words –

ONE STATE                                                                                                        

                Niagara Falls to Montauk Point, Brooklyn to Babylon, and Staten Island to Syracuse, all have something wonderful in common.  What is it? They are all located in the great state we call home, New York.  New York has many beautiful locations near and far, places that we visit on vacation or live our crazy and hectic lives in.  We are not Upstate, Downstate or Midstate.  When it comes to being a member of the New York Association of Surgical Technologist (NYAST) we are one great state.

                July 31, 2013 a major event took place for NYAST after years of hard work. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill stating that all new Surgical Technologists entering practice must be certified.  This is a milestone because not many states have had this pass, although they have tried.  How this pertains to us as Surgical Technologists in New York is that as of January 1st 2015 any Surgical Technologist that works in a healthcare facility must be certified or grandfathered; and everyone employed in a Surgical Technologist position MUST obtain 15 CE credits a year.

                Twice a year NYAST holds a conference; in the fall and the spring.  The location varies between western, central and downstate to try to accommodate as many people as possible.  The conferences are a lot of fun, but most importantly you can earn anywhere from 5-7 CE credits at each conference.  We have been disappointed in the turn out at the conferences.  As of May 2014 NYAST has 1582 members.  With all of these members you would think the conference would be jam packed with Surgical Technologist, but that has not been the case. Our fall conference held on September 28, 2013 in Brooklyn NY at Kingsborough Community College had 178 attendees with only 100 CST’s. Our spring conference held on March 15, 2014 in Niagara Falls fared even worse; we had 82 total attendees and out of that 45 were CST’s.

                The complaint from people is that it is too far, or why should they go upstate if they live in the middle of the state, or why go to Brooklyn if they live in Buffalo.  We are one state.  You can get to the conferences by car, bus, train or plane.  The conference fee is usually 50-60 dollars.  You will get a light breakfast and lunch.  You will listen to some awesome speakers that will not only motivate you but may teach you something new.  More importantly you can earn at least 5 CE credits and have fun.  You will be surrounded by fellow CST’s and you will make new friends.   I can guarantee it. 

                Our Fall Conference with Election of Delegates will be held at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn on September 27, 2014.  We will receive 6 CE credits.  If you need to stay overnight, information will be posted about hotels.  Please come out and support NYAST while you earn your CE credits.  We are one state. The same way you can visit Bear Mountain or the lights on Broadway, you can come to a conference.  You will not be disappointed.


 Gina McGrath, CST

 Director, NYAST Board of Directors


Community Outreach

Once again at our fall conference this year we will be collecting donations for the Coney Island Lighthouse Mission. Reverend Fusco was thrilled with our contributions last year and is very pleased that we are doing it again this year.

Please bring an item, or a few, to be placed in the contribution box at the registration table at our fall conference! This year’s wish list from Reverend Fusco is:

    also Large crayons
Art paper
Water Paint
Post Its
Colored pencils
Poster Boards
Tissue paper
Glue Sticks
Epsom salt
3 hole Binders (medium size)
Copy Paper
Also Staples and/or Amazon gift cards work real well.