Anaesthetic technician

Anaesthetic technician article illustration


Anaesthetic technicians assist specialised doctors in anaesthetics. They prepare operating theatres and other specialised clinics for anaesthetic procedures, prepare the equipment needed for anaesthesia, and assist with inducing and maintaining adequate anaesthesia and post-anaesthesia procedures. They do so under supervision, following the orders of the doctor of medicine.


Anaesthetic technicians typically do the following:

  • Prepare equipment for the delivery of anaesthesia.
  • Set up patient monitoring devices.
  • Sanitize anaesthesia equipment.
  • Troubleshoot equipment in need of repair.
  • Identify problems with equipment and ensure it gets repaired.
  • Sterilise equipment used on the job.
  • Ensure the accurate dosages of anesthesia.
  • Monitor a patient’s vital signs.
  • Establish and secure a patient’s airway so they can breathe easily during a procedure.
  • Assist anaesthesia providers with patient procedures.
  • Explain procedures to patients.
  • Keep records of inspections and maintenance.
  • Help wake up patients at the end of a procedure and transfer them to a post-op care unit.
  • Work alongside other healthcare professionals.
  • Help prep patients for surgery.
  • Assist with anaesthesia administration.
  • Attend to patients during and after a surgical procedure.
  • Order replacement supplies.
  • Test and troubleshoot equipment used during a surgical procedure.
  • Comfort and calm patients who remain conscious during surgery.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to anaesthetic technician:

surgical technician
anesthetic technician
anesthesia technologist
anaesthesia tech
anesthesia tech

Minimum qualifications

An associate’s degree in anaesthesia technology is generally required to work as an anaesthetic technician. This coursework teaches the basics of anesthesia, including topics like anatomy, pharmacology, anesthesia instruments and monitoring vitals.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Anaesthetic technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Anaesthetic technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to anaesthetic technician.

clinical perfusion scientist
respiratory therapy technician
dietetic technician
clinical coder
anatomical pathology technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of anaesthetic technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of anaesthetic technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

nuclear medicine radiographer
diagnostic radiographer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of anaesthetic technician.

  • Emergency surgery: The characteristics and methods of a surgical intervention performed in emergency cases.
  • Surgical asepsis: The way to keep equipment and surfaces sterile to prevent infections during medical care.
  • Surgery: The essential procedures in surgical practice such as the principle of safe surgery, the pathophysiology of wound healing, knot tying, tissue handling, retraction and any other instruments and procedures used in the operating room.
  • Human physiology: The science that studies the human organs and its interactions and mechanisms.
  • Pharmacology: Pharmacology is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Infection control: The routes of transmission and methods of preventing spread of common and important infecting organisms together with the methods available for sterilisation and disinfection of pathogenic organisms in the prevention of infection.
  • Sterilization techniques: The methods and techniques used to destroy or remove microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria that can contaminate medical instruments or any type of material in a health care setting.
  • Biophysics: The characteristics of biophysics which span across various fields, using methods from physics in order to study biological elements.
  • Resuscitation: The emergency procedure applied to individuals with no pulse to restore them to consciousness.
  • Professional documentation in health care: The written standards applied in the health care professional environments for documentation purposes of one`s activity.
  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
  • Medical informatics: The processes and tools used for the analysis and dissemination of medical data through computerized systems.
  • Intensive care medicine: Medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.
  • Anaesthetics: Anaesthetics is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Emergency medicine: Emergency medicine is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of anaesthetic technician.

  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
  • Administer anaesthetics to patients: Give anaesthetics to patients for intensive care and surgery using local anaesthetic for a minor operation on a small area of the body, regional anaesthetic and general anaesthetic.
  • Manage healthcare users’ data: Keep accurate client records which also satisfy legal and professional standards and ethical obligations in order to facilitate client management, ensuring that all clients’ data (including verbal, written and electronic) are treated confidentially.
  • Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.
  • Monitor patient’s vital signs: Monitor and analyse vital signs of heart, respiration, and blood pressure.
  • Ensure the positioning of the patient for surgery: Create conditions for the most advantageous positioning of the patient in preparation for surgery, working from the surgeon`s indications, making sure the patient is safe and comfortable.
  • Dispose medical waste: Dispose all types of medical waste such as infective, toxic and radioactive waste.
  • Communicate effectively in healthcare: Communicate effectively with patients, families and other caregivers, health care professionals, and community partners.
  • Undertake healthcare examination: Assess the healthcare user’s physical state, taking detailed information on previous injuries, surgery, general health, resources and lifestyle into account.
  • Order supplies for anaesthesia services: Order for the anaesthesia department medical supplies related to the equipment, tools and medication used for the operating procedures.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Maintain anaesthetic machinery: Check and maintain anaesthetic and life support machines to ensure full functionality in the operating room during the procedures.
  • Comply with legislation related to health care: Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.
  • Assess patients after surgery: Examine and assess the patient after the surgical procedure, checking the patient`s condition and helping with transferring the patient from the operating room.
  • Manage infection control in the facility: Implement a set of measures to prevent and control infections, formulating and establishing health and safety procedures and policies.
  • Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
  • Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
  • Work in multidisciplinary health teams: Participate in the delivery of multidisciplinary health care, and understand the rules and competences of other healthcare related professions.
  • Monitor patients during surgery: Observe and monitor patients during surgery, responding quickly to any changes.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of anaesthetic technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Techniques of blood-sampling: The appropriate techniques for the collection of blood samples for laboratory work purposes, depending on the group of people targeted such as children or elderly.
  • Medical terminology: The meaning of medical terms and abbreviations, of medical prescriptions and various medical specialties and when to use it correctly.
  • Positions for surgical procedures: The common positions related to the surgical procedures and the use of the appropriate equipment such as fracture tables, head stabilisers, body stabilisers, C-arm extensions in order to provide the position.
  • Endoscopy: The medical and non-surgical procedure through which a doctor can examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of a patient using an endoscope.
  • Radiation protection: The measures and procedures used to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of anaesthetic technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Perform venepuncture procedures: Perform venipuncture procedures by selecting a suitable site to puncture the patient’s veins, preparing the puncture site, explaining the procedure to the patient, extracting the blood and collecting it in an appropriate container.
  • Use venepuncture procedure equipment: Make use of the instruments and tools such as tourniquet, alcohol wipes, gauze sponges, sterilized needles and syringes, adhesive bandages, gloves and evacuated collection tubes, used in the procedure for collecting blood from patients.
  • Ensure proper visualisation of the operating site: Make arrangements to prepare the operating site for surgery which involves tasks such as securing retractors, packing with sponges, manipulating tissues, performing suctioning, irrigation, sponging or manipulating suture materials.
  • Manage adverse reactions to anaesthesia: Handle patients with adverse reactions to anaesthetics administered during the operation.
  • Instruct on allergic reactions to anaesthetics: Instruct medical colleagues, nurses, and students on the signs, symptoms, and diagnosis of allergic reactions to anaesthetics, providing instructions on how to treat life threatening emergencies.
  • Employ foreign languages in care: Communicate in foreign languages with healthcare users, their carers, or services providers. Use foreign languages to faciliate patient care according to the needs of the patient.
  • Manage acute pain: Handle patients with acute pain and ease their pain accordingly.
  • Assist with hemostasis: Use the appropriate techniques and tools to stop bleeding, applying haemostatic agents and vessel loops.

ISCO group and title

3259 – Health associate professionals not elsewhere classified

  1. Anaesthetic technician – ESCO
  2. How to Become an Anesthesia Tech? |
  3. Featured image: By ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office – originally posted to Flickr as 100410-F-7713A-002, CC BY 2.0
Last updated on March 21, 2023

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