Bright lights shine on the operating table where you lay. The surgical team prepares in the background. A doctor places a mask over your mouth and asks you to count backwards from ten.
As hard as you try to keep your eyes open, you get to seven and drift off.
As you drift away, you think of the nice person who brought you into theatre, the one who made you feel safe. They made you laugh. They patiently explained what was going to happen during your surgery. They assured you that everything would run smoothly. They carefully positioned you on the operating table. They meticulously performed the safety checks of all equipment for your surgery.
They were a key part of the surgical team that possibly saved your life.
They are Anaesthetic Technicians and today is their day.
Today marks 40 years of the Anaesthetic Technician qualification, a unique and highly-trained profession. The role of the Registered Anaesthetic Technician is a mixture of routine, quick and flexible thinking. Registered Anaesthetic Technicians are responsible for ensuring any equipment needed for a patient’s surgery is safe, functional and available.
Gisborne Hospital has six Anaesthetic Technicians and one Trainee – Gisborne-born Shahni Deere. Shahni is Gisborne Hospital’s most recent Anaesthetic Technician trainee since our hospital regained national training accreditation.
Shahni recalls the moment she realised that she wanted to pursue the career. “I was in the clinic waiting room to have all of my wisdom teeth out. I was incredibly nervous. If it hadn’t been for the Anaesthetist and Anaesthetic Technician, I wouldn’t have stayed. They saw I was nervous and spent time with me in the waiting room,. They explained everything and made me feel so calm and at ease. I thought how much I wanted to do this job and help others.”
“I went back to my careers advisor at Campion College and told him. After some research, I found out that the job training is paid from day one, and all evening study is paid for by the hospital.
“No student loan and a great salary from day one of training? It seemed too good to be true.
“The Anaesthetic Tech team here is incredible” Shani says. “They have really supported me and I would recommend pursuing this career to anyone. I have three years of work and study ahead of me, but I can already see that I’ve made the right choice.”
It is surprising to learn that this profession is understaffed across New Zealand. Sam Baxendale, Hauora Tairāwhiti Anaesthetic Technician Team Leader said “This is an extremely satisfying profession. Considering the training and education aspects, its very attractive for younger people or those looking for a career change.”
For more information about a career as an Anaesthetic Technician, visit www.nzats.co.nz(external link).