Anaesthetist

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Anaesthetic Technician

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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 6

 

Anaesthetists administer anaesthesia that block the sensation of pain for patients undergoing surgery and related procedures. They safely render patients unconscious so that surgeons may perform operations without the patient being aware of, or feeling, any pain. They carefully assess a patient's requirements, administer anaesthesia, monitor a patient's vital signs during surgery and care for any patients who may have an adverse reaction to the anaesthesia. Future Growth Strong

Anaesthetists provide direct medical care to patients requiring general or local anaesthesia for surgical, diagnostic and other procedures such as prevention of pain and maintenance of body function.

Alternative names: Anaesthesiologist

Specialisations: Intensive Care Anaesthetist, Obstetric Anaesthetist, Pain Management Specialist


Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • a commitment to caring for others
  • an interest and ability in science, medicine, anatomy and physiology
  • the ability to work under pressure and make quick, accurate decisions
  • practical skills for examining patients and performing clinical procedures
  • good communication skills and the ability to explain choices to patients.

At work
Anaesthetist at work
(Source: Fast Tracking)

Duties and Tasks

You would use different types of anaesthetic such as:

  • local anaesthetic - for a minor operation on a small area of the body such as the mouth

  • regional anaesthetic – such as an epidural to numb a larger area of the body like the lower back in childbirth

  • general anaesthetic – for more serious operations, to make the patient totally unconscious.


You would work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide the most appropriate and complete treatment plan for your patients

  • prepare patients for surgery by explaining any risks or side effects
  • give anaesthetics to patients in a day surgery or operating theatre
  • observe and monitor patients during procedures or surgery, responding quickly to any changes
  • resuscitate and stabilise patients in the emergency department
  • relieve pain during childbirth
  • ease pain after an operation
  • manage acute and chronic pain.
  • perform pre-operative examinations of patients to determine appropriate anaesthetic and sedation in concurrence with Internal Medicine Specialists and Surgeons
  • discuss the anaesthetic process with patients and obtaining their informed consent prior to surgery
  • administer local, regional and general anaesthetics using a variety of methods such as inhalational and intravenous administration
  • supervise the transfer of patients to operating theatres, positioning on operating tables, keeping patients warm, and responding quickly and accurately if any problems arise
  • monitor patients throughout surgical procedures and in immediate post-operative procedures
  • record details of anaesthetic and sedation administered, and the condition of patients before, during and after anaesthesia
  • liaise with other health care workers to provide diagnosis and treatment for patients with chronic pain, and to diagnose and treat patients requiring intensive care or resuscitation
  • may instruct medical, nursing, student and ancillary staff on the signs, symptoms and diagnosis of allergic and anaphylactic reactions to anaesthetic agents, and supervision and treatment of life threatening emergencies

Working conditions

Anaesthetists work in hospitals, day surgeries and at universities. They conduct most of their work in operating theatres or hospital rooms, which have strict hygiene and safety standards. It is important for anaesthetists to keep up-to-date on the development of the latest anaesthesia and relevant medical technology. Some anaesthetists work in teaching environments, or are required to assist in on-the-job training at hospitals. Anaesthetists are often on call, so work irregular hours.

You would work long hours including nights and weekends, and you may also be part of an out-of-hours roster system.

You could work in public or private hospitals, day surgeries, dental surgeries or other medical facilities. You would spend time in a variety of settings such as consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres and special units like accident and emergency.


Tools and technologies

Anaesthetists use complex medical machines that monitor patient's vital signs and administer anaesthesia. They also use a variety of pain maintenance drugs that they carefully tailor towards individual requirements. The use of these machines and the administration of anaesthesia can be highly complicated and therefore requires a great deal of precision and accuracy.


Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an anaesthetist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in anaesthetics.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Entry into these courses is highly competitive and is based on a combination of academic achievement, performance on the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) and a structured interview. The UMAT is a written test that assesses non-academic personal qualities.

Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine. Entry into the graduate entry courses is based on prior completion of a bachelor degree, performance in the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and a score resulting from a semi-structured interview.

To specialise in anaesthetics, doctors can apply to the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship. To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency). To specialise as an anaesthetist, you must obtain the Diploma of Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (FANZCA). To do this, you first need to gain at least two years’ work experience in an approved hospital. You then need to register with the College and undergo a 5-year program undertaking supervised training at an accredited hospital.

In Australia and New Zealand, anaesthesia training is supervised and accredited by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). The training to become a specialist anaesthetist is equal in length to that of other medical specialists, such as surgeons, and includes intensive assessments, both at the hospitals where trainees work, and by written and verbal examinations. Doctors in the training program are called registrars. When a registrar completes their training and passes all examinations, they are awarded a diploma of fellowship of ANZCA, become Fellows of the College and may use the initials FANZCA after their name. They can then practise as a specialist anaesthetist in Australia and New Zealand.


Required registration and licensing

To work as an anaesthetist in Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.


Did You Know?

Becoming an anaesthetist

Anaesthetic Technician
Community and Health

Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 3Skill Level 4

 

Anaesthetic technicians prepare and maintain anaesthetic equipment for operating theatres and clinics, and assist anaesthetists during anaesthetic procedures. Future Growth StrongAnesthesia Technicians are a vital part of any medical facility’s anesthesia care team. They ensure that the anesthesia equipment is clean and functional and, most importantly, use their technical knowledge to protect the safety of the patient. Anesthesia Technicians can work in any setting where anesthesia is administered to patients, including hospitals, dentistry practices and specialized surgery centres.

Along with sanitizing anesthesia equipment, Anesthesia Technicians are also in charge of stocking necessary supplies, properly setting up patient monitoring devices, troubleshooting equipment in need of repair and assisting anesthesia providers with certain patient procedures.

Alternative names: Anaesthesia Paramedical Officer; Anesthesia Technician

Knowledge, skills and attributes   

One of the most crucial skills of Anesthesia Technicians is remaining calm and effectively performing duties even in a stressful operating room situation. Anesthesia Technicians must not only have an excellent technical understanding of anesthesia equipment and supplies, but must also be able to act as a helpful assistant to anesthesia providers during both routine and complex surgeries.

  • good communication and people skills
  • attention to detail
  • able to work under pressure
  • good technical and measurement skills
  • aptitude for working with computers
  • organised and methodical
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job    

Anaesthetic Technician
Checking equipment
(Source: Careers Govt NZ)

Duties and Tasks

Anaesthetic technicians may perform the following tasks:

  • set up, check and maintain anaesthetic workstations, life support machines and associated equipment
  • order and prepare medical supplies for anaesthesia
  • discuss medical procedures with patients and check whether they have any medical conditions that could cause problems under anaesthesia
  • assist the anaesthetist to insert breathing tubes and intravascular lines in patients
  • assist the anaesthetist to administer anaesthesia to patients
  • monitor patients and their vital signs before, during and after procedures
  • maintain documentation before, during and after surgery
  • assist with basic life support and post-operative care
  • assist the anaesthetist in emergencies

Working 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.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified anaesthetic technician you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in anaesthetic technology or paramedical science (anaesthesia). To get into these courses you usually have to be employed in the anaesthetic area of a hospital or medical clinic, working under an appropriately qualified supervisor. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education.

Before undertaking the clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate, immunisations and a Working with Children Check (NSW) or Working with Vulnerable People Check (ACT). Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Voluntary registration and membership of the Australasian Society of Anaesthesia Paramedical Officers (ASAPO) may be available upon graduation. Student membership is also available. Registration with ASAPO is not compulsory, but it is strongly recommended as many employers require anaesthetic technicians to be registered as a condition of employment.

Employment Opportunities

Anaesthetic technicians are employed primarily in large public and private hospitals. Opportunities also exist in smaller hospitals, medical clinics and remote area medical assistance.

 

 

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Material sourced from
Jobs & Skills WA [
Anaesthetist; ]
CareerHQ [Anaesthetist; ]
Australian Society of Anaesthetists [what is an anaesthetist;]
JobHero [Anesthesia Technician]
CareersOnline [Anaesthetic Technician; ]
JobOutlook [Anaesthetists; ]



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