An Anesthesia Assistant is a Respiratory Therapist, Nurse or other critical care trained professional that has additional specialized training to care for the surgical patient during general, regional, or conscious sedation anesthesia. Their skills are guided by medical directives and are supervised by an anesthesiologist. The Anesthesia Assistant supports the Anesthesiologist before, during and after surgery to treat patients and operate highly technical equipment.
At Providence Health Care, Anesthesia Assistants work at St. Paul’s Hospital and Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in a wide variety of settings including:
- St. Paul’s Hospital Operating Rooms
- Mount Saint Joseph Hospital Operating Rooms
- Cardiac Diagnostics (Cardiac Cath Lab and Electrophysiology Lab)
- Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit
- Postanesthetic Care Unit
- Outpatient Clinics (Gastrointestinal Clinic, Radiology, MRI)
- Surgical Procedure Rooms
They are a highly valued member of the anesthesia/surgical team with their clinical and technical skills. Anesthesia Assistants work 7 days a week and are available during the day from 06:00 to 19:30 and provide On-call services from 19:30 to 06:00. As an integral part of the Anesthesia team the AA is the second pair of hands /and is quick to anticipate the needs of the Anesthesiologist in all situations.
Under the supervision of the Anesthesiologist, Anesthesia Assistants at Providence Health Care are trained to procure intravenous lines, arterial lines and intubations. They assist with the insertion of central venous catheters and pulmonary artery catheters and with the management of high risk intubations. Anesthesia Assistants are sanctioned by the Canadian Anesthesia Society to administer medications, volatile anesthetic gases and nitric oxide. Anesthesia Assistants are responsible for the initiation and management/manipulation of anesthetic machines. They provide hemodynamic monitoring during regional blocks and full body system monitoring in the absence of the Anesthesiologist. They provide functional checks and troubleshoot anesthetic equipment. Anesthesia Assistants play an integral role in chronic pain modalities and the regional block programs.
For more information about Anesthesia Assistants visit the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society website.
For information on how to become an Anesthesia Assistant visit the Thompson Rivers University website.