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Training
Frequently Asked Questions

Training - FAQ

What does an Anaesthetic Technician do?

Being an Anaesthetic Technician is a diverse role. It changes depending on the needs of the patient, the Anaesthetist, the surgeon, the type of surgery and the situations that can occur throughout an operation. The role of the Anaesthetic Technician is a mixture of routine  and  quick  flexible thinking. Everyday, Anaesthetic Technicians are responsible for ensuring any equipment needed for a patient, including the Anaesthetic machine, is safe, functional and available. This side of the role takes a systematic and methodical approach to ensure nothing is missed, an incorrectly functioning machine could cost a patient their life. Anaesthetic Technicians are highly trained in the wide range of technology used for the induction, maintenance, emergence and monitoring of Anaesthesia. On going education is a must with ever changing technology. Anaesthetic Technicians have to be aware of what is happening to their patient throughout the operation. On occasions Anaesthetic Technicians must act quickly and knowledgeably to react to unexpected life threatening events that can occur suddenly such as a severe life threatening allergic reactions.  Anaesthetic Technicians also must react to the expected life threatening events such as a major motor vehicle accident where massive injury has been sustained. In these situations the role diversifies according to what the Anaesthetist and situation requires to help save a patients life. The Anaesthetic Technician interact with patients before surgery offering support and reassurance, the role  involves empathy and sympathy in acting as the patient advocate. Technicians care for patients from a wide range of ages, cultures and medical status. From a baby requiring minor ear surgery to a 90 year old requiring major hip surgery. A Technician must be educated in caring for a diverse group of people who require a diverse range of surgeries. The Anaesthetic Technician is an important part of the operating team, working closely with Anaesthetists and the intraoperative team to create a safe environment for every patient as well as colleagues. The diversity of the role and the people you meet and work with make this an exciting and rewarding career.

A career as an Anaesthetic Technician 

Click here to see the television programme “Just the Job” profile the Anaesthetic technician role. For further information on what is required click here to see some recruitment information from one of New Zealand’s largest employers and trainers of Anaesthetic Technicians

I am an overseas qualified Anaesthetic Technician. Can I work in New Zealand?

To work as a Registered Anaesthetic Technician in New Zealand you must first Register with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand (MSCNZ) Register here and hold a current Annual Practicing Certificate.

What is it really like as an Operating Department Practitioner (OPD) working in New Zealand as a Registered Anaesthetic Technician? Click here to find out!

Registered Anaesthetic Technicians are currently on the Immigration New Zealand skill shortage list. So people with these skills are viewed favorable by them.  Immigration NZ contact options can be found on the following link Immigration NZ

How do I train to be an Anaesthetic Technician?

To train as an Anaesthetic Technician, the following requirements must be met:

  • New Zealand/Permanent residency – this is a mandatory requirement. Trainees will not be considered for training without evidence of their New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Employment with a New Zealand Medical Sciences Council approved training hospital – to gain access to the Anaesthetic Technician’s training programme provided by Auckland University of Technology (AUT), applicants must be employed by a training hospital . Training hospitals advertise trainee positions regularly and can be contacted for details of training programmes via the HR Department or Career’s Centre.
  • Enrolment in Diploma Applied Sciences (Anaesthetic Technology) at AUT – AUT will not permit enrolment into the Diploma without evidence of employment at an NZATS-approved training hospital.
  • Registration with NZATS – immediate upon commencement of employment, trainees must register as a trainee Anaesthetic Technician with the NZATS. This is done using the Registration Form document. Failure to do so may result in loss of recognition of clinical training hours and failure to complete the training course within the required time frame.

What qualifications do I need to enrol in the Diploma Applied Sciences (Anaesthetic Technology)?

Previous healthcare experience is preferable but not mandatory. An interest in people and a desire to participate in providing a high standard of service to patients is essential. AUT prefer that students have the following qualifications prior to enrolment in the Diploma Applied Sciences (Anaesthetic Technology):

  •  48 credits at level 2 or higher including 8 credits at level 2 in any one subject from the list below*

And prefer that applicants have:

  • Level 2 NCEA Physics OR AUT Biophysics Level 4 (or equivalent)
  • Level 3 NCEA Biology OR AUT Anatomy and Physiology Level 4 (or equivalent)

*Classical Studies, Drama, English, Geography, Health Education, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Social Studies, Business Studies, Economics, Physical Education, Te Reo Maori, Te Reo Rangatira

Some Trainees prefer to sit the HAP 1 and Biophysics 5 papers before applying for a training position at the hospital. Email  AUT for advice on how to do this.

How do I become a fully qualified Anaesthetic Technician?

In order to qualify as an Anaesthetic Technician and be eligible for employment, the following requirements must be met:

  • A pass in the Diploma Applied Science (Anaesthetic Technology)
  • Completion of the required clinical training course as set out in the Training Guidelines document
  • A pass in the NZATS Registration Exam which is sat after successful completion of the Diploma

What if I have already studied university-level biology or physics, or if I have a Nursing degree?

Students with relevant university papers in HAP (Human Anatomy & Physiology) or Biophysics must meet specific requirements in order that the papers can be formally cross-credited, as follows:

  • The paper must have been sat within 5 years of enrolment on the Diploma or Graduate Certificate programme (unless applicant has been working continuously in the field)
  • Evidence must be supplied which demonstrates at least 80% equivalence to the current HAP I Biophysics 5 papers offered by AUT
  • You must formally apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to AUT and provide all necessary evidence to support your application. Forms are available from AUT.
  • Cross-credit of papers is not guaranteed until the student has official notification from the AUT Board of Studies.
  • Successful completion of an approved Nursing degree (or other degree deemed appropriate by MSC) permits entry into the Graduate Certificate Programme. This entitles the student to a fast-track training programme of a minimum of 18 months AUT study and equivalent clinical hours unless a reduction in clinical hours has been granted due to previous relevant experience.
  • Nurses who have experience in certain practice areas may be eligible to apply for cross credit of Anaesthesia I and/or Special Topic papers. Experience in these practice areas must have been for a minimum period of one year:
    • Operating Room nursing
    • Surgical ward nursing
    • Emergency Department nursing
    • Intensive Care nursing
    • PACU nursing

Any Trainee applying to MSC for RPL for their work experience must provide evidence to support their application, including a portfolio confirming training in the areas relevant to the Special Topic.  This should also be accompanied by a letter of support from the Supervisor of Training (the senior training supervisor appointed at each training hospital). There is no guarantee of cross-credit until the student has received official notification from AUT Board of Studies.

Can I make use of a Reader / Writer person for my Registration Exam?

The Medical Sciences Council of NZ state that use of a Reader/Writer support person is not permitted in the Anaesthetic Technician Registration Examination. (AUT does allow the use of a Reader / Writer support person for the academic part of the training)