Anaesthetic Technician Kaihangarau Haurehu

Anaesthetic technicians assist anaesthetists during operations, and prepare operating theatres and clinics for anaesthetic procedures.

Anaesthetic technicians must be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand and hold an Annual Practising Certificate.

Anaesthetic technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • check and set up life support and anaesthetic machines
  • inform and reassure patients, and check for conditions that could create problems under anaesthesia
  • help anaesthetists place patients' breathing tubes and intravenous lines
  • help anaesthetists administer anaesthetics, including local anaesthetics and nerve blocks
  • watch patients and monitor their vital signs (such as heartbeat)
  • decontaminate, sterilise or dispose of equipment and materials used in operations
  • assist with care after operations and insert catheters into patients.

Physical Requirements

Anaesthetic technicians need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong because they often need to move equipment and patients.

Useful Experience

Experience in the medical field is useful for anaesthetic technicians.

Personal Qualities

Anaesthetic technicians need to be:

  • able to remain calm in emergencies and work well under pressure
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good communicators who are able to relate to people from a range of cultures
  • comfortable working around sick and injured people.

Skills

Anaesthetic technicians need to have knowledge of:

  • operating theatre procedures and protocols
  • anaesthetic and nerve-blocking machines, life support machines, other equipment and drugs
  • emergency procedures, and how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • human anatomy, physiology and biophysics
  • physical and medical conditions that may put patients at risk during anaesthesia.

Conditions

Anaesthetic technicians:

  • usually do shift work, including weekends, and may be on call
  • work in operating rooms in hospitals and clinics, delivery suites and emergency departments
  • work in conditions that may be stressful, particularly during operations.

Anaesthetic Technicians can earn around $44K-$79K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Anaesthetic Technician are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for anaesthetic technicians varies depending on experience, hours of work, and employer. 

Anaesthetic technicians at District Health Boards are paid as follows:

  • Trainee anaesthetic technicians usually earn between $44,000 and $51,000 a year.
  • Qualified anaesthetic technicians usually earn between $54,000 and $79,000.
  • Anaesthetic technicians with extra responsibilities can earn up to $107,000.

Those working in private hospitals usually earn more when they start out. 

Source: TAS, 'Anaesthetic Technicians Multi-Employer Collective Agreement: 2020-2022', 2021.

Anaesthetic technicians may move into managerial or trainer roles.

Anaesthetic technicians can specialise in certain departments or procedures, including:

  • paediatrics (working with children)
  • emergency and resuscitation
  • transplants
  • specialised surgery such as neurosurgery (brain surgery) or cardiothoracic surgery (for heart and lung-related conditions)
  • using specialist equipment for cell saving (removing a patient's own blood or blood products, then later returning them to the patient's body).

Years Of Training

3 years of training required.

To become an anaesthetic technician, you need to:

  • have a Bachelor of Health Science (Perioperative Practice) Level 7 
  • pass the New Zealand Anaesthetic Association Society registration exam
  • be registered by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

Existing tertiary qualifications can shorten study

Students who are registered nurses or paramedics will be able to apply for the Graduate Certificate in Science - Anaesthetic Technology.

Semester II, 2022 will be the last intake for this programme.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Anaesthetic Technician