Out of the many jobs in the health care industry, the career of an anesthesia technician is one which involves technical aspects as well as patient care. Many people have a misconception that these medical personnel administer anesthesia to the patient before surgery. However, you need to know that this task is actually done by anesthesiologists, whereas anesthesia technicians help them carry out the procedure, by looking after anesthetic equipment and tools. These specialists provide services in a wide range of medical settings; such as a big hospital, ICU departments, private surgical settings, and so on.
How to Become an Anesthesia Technician?
The basic educational requirement is to possess a high school diploma or any equivalent degree. Undergoing trainings regarding basic patient care and operating medical equipment would truly be beneficial in your career. Next, you would need to go in for specific anesthesia technology training. This training can be achieved by taking up a certificate course, associate degree, or a bachelor's degree. During these courses, you will learn about general aspects of anesthesia, monitoring vital signs, related terminologies, and relevant tasks in the job. To be eligible for the certification, you need to qualify a two-year program recognized by the ASATT or have an experience of two years in the field. This will help you become a Certified Anesthesia Technician (Cer.A.T.), thus increasing your job and income prospects. Bear in mind that the certification is not mandatory. The certification is offered by the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists & Technicians (ASATT).
An anesthesia technician is a person from the surgical team who is responsible for operating and managing anesthesia equipment, supplies, and machines. Generally, this professional is supposed to work under the guidance of anesthesiologists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the operation theater. He also has to perform additional duties as per the suggestions of surgeons and RNs.
Typically, their duties extend beyond what needs to be done before surgery. They have to perform tasks even during and after the surgery. They need to ensure that the anesthesia equipment is working fine. Cleaning and disinfecting the setup is also a main duty. They have to make sure if supplies are adequate and order them if required. They are also responsible for reporting the occurrence of malfunctioning in any equipment to the appropriate person. If possible they can even carry out basic troubleshooting steps for solving the problem.
They have to conduct a periodical inspection to check if all the devices are working fine. They have to monitor the patient's physical status before administering anesthesia. After anesthesia administration, they are required to keep a track of the patient's vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and other aspects. In case there are any abnormalities recorded, they have to immediately inform doctors about the same.
They also have to check if the anesthesia depth is suitable for operation. Besides, they need to make sure that the airway is clear for proper air flow from in and out of the patient's body. This is normally done by using airway equipment. Once the surgery is done, they have to transfer the patient to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) for further care.
The task of administering anesthesia to a patient is very crucial before surgery, which is why these medical experts are expected to be good at maintaining anesthesia depth and operating anesthesia equipment in the right way. The salary is believed to be about $45,000 on an annual basis. Owing to the duties mentioned above, it can be said that these specialists are the operating arms of anesthesiologists.