Have you been waiting to embark on a new career in the medical field but not sure which one suits you best? Have you ever wondered what it was like to work in an operating room? Do you want to be a part of a healthcare team that helps patients undergoing surgery?
Below we will explain how you can become an anesthesia technologist. It is a vital component of the healthcare team supporting and protecting a patient during surgery. Anesthesia techs are one of Florida’s and the nation’s fastest growing careers. Read on to learn more.
What does an anesthesia technologist do?
Technologists work under an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist, also called a CRNA, in the operating room to help administer anesthesia. According to WebMD, anesthesia is a way for the anesthesiologist to control pain for the patient during a procedure or surgery by using medicine. Anesthesia can help control the patient’s breathing, circulation, blood pressure, and heart rate.
The technologist prepares the patient, the equipment, and the operating room for the anesthesiologist. If you become an anesthesia technologist, many of your tasks are performed immediately before and after surgery.
Before surgery, a tech will stock supplies in the operating room, such as intubation kits, resuscitation bags, and laryngoscope blades that may be needed during an operation. You will make sure the equipment in the operating room functions properly. The anesthesia tech will also clean, sterilize, and prepare equipment. You may also assist in transporting the patient to and from the operating room.
After surgery, the technologist is responsible for breaking down, cleaning, sterilizing, and reassembling all reusable equipment that the anesthesia team needs during surgery. The anesthesia tech will also recalibrate equipment, and otherwise prepare the operating room for the next surgery.
As an anesthesia technologist, you will perform an array of administrative tasks including checking inventory, ordering supplies, repairing equipment, filling out patient charts and other documentation, training students and fellow team members, and participating in continuing education courses. These are all essential elements to ensure the smooth performance of a clinic or hospital’s surgical services.
If you become an anesthesia technologist, depending on the level of education and training, you may also prepare intravenous drugs, position the patient and make sure they maintain the appropriate posture during surgery, collect blood samples during a procedure, monitor airway obstructions, and measure vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.
What are the benefits of being an anesthesia technologist?
Making a difference. When patients are in the hospital they are vulnerable and not at their best. A patient needs help to get up and running again. Working as an anesthesia tech is very rewarding because you know you are making a difference and you are working as part of a team that will help improve a patient’s quality of life.
Job security. The number of anesthesia tech jobs is expected to grow faster than average which means qualified candidates will be in high demand.
There is potential for growth. You can go back to college, get a bachelor’s degree, and work as a nurse or a healthcare administrator. You could also go on to become an anesthesiologist.
Great medical and dental benefits. Healthcare facilities want to attract qualified candidates for in demand jobs and they offer great benefits package to compete with other facilities. Benefits usually include comprehensive health insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, ample vacation time, and sick leave.
Potential to travel. As an anesthesia technologist, you could work for staffing agencies that hire employees for temporary jobs around the United States where there may be a shortage of qualified candidates. The contract usually lasts around 8 to 12 weeks at a time. The staffing agency usually pays a higher rate per hour than a traditional medical facility and sometimes pays for room and board.
What training and education is needed to become an anesthesia technologist?
To become a technologist there are different paths you can take: on-the-job training, a 12-month certificate, or a 2-year associate’s degree.
On-the-job training. Medical facilities may provide an apprenticeship program setting up an alternative path to formal education. You will spend months learning how to perform the job and will shadow others before being allowed to work independently.
Twelve-month certificate program. Technical schools and community colleges may offer a 12-month certificate program where they will train students on how to perform the duties and responsibilities of an anesthesia tech.
Associate’s degree. At select schools, you can earn an associate’s degree. These techs have a leg up as employers are more likely to hire graduates of an associate’s degree program because they will be better prepared for the job and have already proved their competency in daily duties.
After you have completed your education and training there are certificate exams that can be taken through the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians. Hospitals may or may not require the certification.
During your education and training, you will learn all of the responsibilities and tasks you will complete in your daily job. You will learn how to protect yourself against diseases that can be transmitted by the patient. Patient protection before, during, and after the procedure is another responsibility to study. You will also take classes in human anatomy and human biology, pharmacology, anesthesia equipment, medical gasses, anesthesia procedure, CPR, and medical terminology. As part of your education, you will most likely intern in a hospital where you will learn the practical aspects of performing the job of an anesthesia technologist.
Where do anesthesia technologists work?
Anesthesia techs can work in a variety of settings. Most techs work in a hospital because that is where the majority of surgeries take place. Techs can also work in physician offices and outpatient facilities that offer surgeries or procedures where patients undergo anesthesia.
In Florida, there are plenty of opportunities at any setting where anesthesia may be utilized. Career websites like Monster and Indeed or a local hospital’s career page can give you a good idea about the job possibilities in your area.
How is an anesthesia technologist different from an anesthesiologist?
An anesthesiologist is a physician who went to medical school, and is responsible for administering anesthesia during a surgical procedure. The anesthesiologist is also responsible for monitoring and treating any problems that arise with a patient during surgery. The doctor is also responsible for monitoring and treating any problems with blood pressure, respiratory functions, or heart rate that the patient has while under anesthesia.
A technologist is a key partner to the anesthesiologist, making sure equipment is cleaned and prepared for surgery. The anesthesia tech may also assist the anesthesiologist during the surgery. You are in charge of repairing or replacing any equipment that needs fixed during surgery. As a technologist, you may have to assist in CPR in an emergency situation. You will be responsible for making sure the anesthesiologist has everything needed during surgery.
What qualities and traits make for a good technologist?
Anesthesia techs should have the following qualities: effective and articulate communication skills, time management, the ability to stand for extended periods of time, attention to detail, organization, customer service skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Handling and coping stress is essential. Working as a tech can be very stressful and chaotic at times. If an emergency happens it is important to the patient and the rest of the healthcare team that everyone remains calm and follows the hospital’s procedure for emergencies.
How much does a technologist make in Florida?
In Florida, an anesthesia technologist’s salary depends on location. Though you can expect to make around $35,000, salary ranges from $35,000 to $39,000.
How much you make depends on a few different factors such as education, experience, and licensure. The more experience you have the more money you can earn.
Are you destined to become an anesthesia technologist?
Becoming a tech is a very rewarding experience. You will be a part of an exceptional team of people who work together to provide the best care possible to patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures. You will learn how to quickly take care of patients in an emergency situation, you will learn how to prepare and maintain important medical equipment, and you will learn a valuable job that is in demand in Florida and all across the United States. Most importantly, you will be a vital part of the healthcare team that works to improve a patient’s quality of life.
Learn more about how to start studies in an anesthesia technologist program that will help you start your journey toward becoming an anesthesia technologist!