About Anaesthetic Technicians

Mō Ngā Ringapū Whakarehu

Considering a career as an anaesthetic technician? Here is some information about anaesthetic technicians’ roles, what they do, and the pathway to becoming one.

Frequently Asked Questions

For those considering a career as a Registered Anaesthetic Technician

Being a registered 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 registered anaesthetic technician is a mixture of routine and quick, flexible thinking. Every day, registered 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.

Registered anaesthetic technicians are highly trained in the wide range of technology used for the induction, maintenance, emergence, and monitoring of anaesthesia. Ongoing education is a must with ever changing technology. Registered Anaesthetic Technicians must be aware of what is happening to their patient throughout the operation. On occasions, Registered 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 reaction. Registered Anaesthetic Technicians must also react to anticipated 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 require to help save a patient’s life. The registered anaesthetic technician interacts with patients before surgery offering support and reassurance. The role involves empathy and sympathy in acting as the patient advocate. Registered anaesthetic technicians care for patients from a wide range of ages, cultures, and medical status, from a baby needing minor ear surgery, to a 90-year-old requiring major hip surgery. A registered anaesthetic technician must be educated in caring for a diverse group of people who require a diverse range of surgeries. The registered 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.

Click here to see the television programme “Just the Job” profile the Registered Anaesthetic Technician role. Please note that due to a change in training programs, some of the academic information is no longer current.
For further information on what is required, read some recruitment information from one of New Zealand’s largest employers and trainers of Registered Anaesthetic Technicians, CDHB.

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, as well as hold a current Annual Practicing Certificate.
Registered Anaesthetic Technicians are currently on the Immigration New Zealand skill shortage list, so people with these skills are viewed favourably. Read more about moving to New Zealand as an overseas qualified anaesthetic technician.

To practice as a Registered Anaesthetic Technician and be eligible for employment, the following requirements must be met:

  • A pass in the Bachelor of Health Science (Perioperative Practice), or Graduate Certificate in Science (Anaesthetic Technology)
  • A pass in the MSC Registration Exam which is sat after successful completion of the academic programme
  • Registration with the Medical Sciences Council and a current Annual Practicing Certificate

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/Paramedics 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
  • Paramedicine

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