Laurel Ridge Surgical Technology students undergo high-tech virtual training

For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2023

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Students using Simulator
The simulators provide safe and realistic training for laparoscopic surgery.

Laurel Ridge Community College Surgical Technology students participated in several mock laparoscopic surgeries, including appendectomies, hysterectomies and cholecystectomies (gallbladder removal) as part of the demonstration of the LAPSIM® surgical simulator at the Fauquier Campus on Friday.

Surgical Technology instructor Lisa Day organized for two simulators to be brought to campus by a representative of the LAPSIM®’s supplier, Surgical Science. A colleague from a college in Tennessee brought a third simulator, a portable one, for students to also use.

Laurel Ridge surgical technology instructor Lisa Day

With the simulators providing a laparoscopic view of human anatomy, students used various instruments to perform several different procedures, receiving instant feedback on their performances.

“No community college in Virginia has this simulator,” Day said. “It’s state-of-the-art technology which teaches the students the techniques and principles of minimally-invasive surgery.”

Surgical technologists help prepare the operating room and surgical instruments prior to surgery; ensure the operating room remains sterile, pass instruments to the surgeon and first assistant and provide other assistance during the operation; and following the procedure, may apply dressings to the patient and count the instruments used.

“We are an integral part of the surgical team,” Day explained.

Understanding all aspects of the operating room is essential for a surgical technologist to be successful, said Dr. Craig Santicola, dean of the School of Professional Programs at Laurel Ridge.

“This simulator provides a realistic laparoscopic environment and allows students to train safely and gain confidence before heading into the operating room,” he said. “Having a simulator like this would be a tremendous benefit to our students, as its use has been shown to improve overall student learning and psychomotor skills. I know the students benefited from the time training with it, and we look forward to possibly purchasing one in the future.”

First-year and second-year students from both the Middletown and Fauquier campuses were able to practice on the simulators, which cost about $170,000 each.

“I think it is so much fun to actually have something that simulates what it really looks like in surgery,” said first-year student Haley Farmer, a 2022 Clarke County High School graduate. “I love Laurel Ridge’s Surgical Technology program. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Annie Logan, a second-year student at the Fauquier Campus, said she applied for a job as a surgical technologist not realizing a degree was required. That’s how she ended up at Laurel Ridge.

“When I found this place, I knew I had to do it,” Logan said. “The next step for me is training to become a first assistant. I would love to go to medical school. This simulator is really, really helpful. I want one for our program.”

The simulators remained at the college on Saturday for an annual meeting and workshop for more than 100 members of the Virginia Commonwealth State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists. Day is the state assembly’s secretary and past-president. She also serves as chair of the State Assembly Leadership Committee at the national level.

The median salary for surgical technologists in the region is $26 an hour. Learn more about the Surgical Technology program at


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.