How to Become a Operating Theatre Technician in Australia
Operating Theatre Technicians work in the heart of the hospital playing a critical role in the successful functioning of the theatre. You lead a busy working life on your feet a lot of the time, immersed in the flurry of activity which surrounds surgery. Multitasking you carry out tasks related to the operating theatre such as bringing patients to and from surgery, as well as preparing and adjusting surgical equipment. The job offers a good balance of applying technical knowledge and an up-and-about working life.
You pay careful attention to detail, you have a steady head, and your family knows you as the organised one. This job gives you responsibility for important equipment, and you must take pride in remembering the little details. However, the role isn't just about technical details, rather you need to have a professional and pleasant manner with the patients as you take them to surgery. You may need to help with preparing patients for surgery and getting them in position. Not to forget, you provide important support to the surgical team, and you need good communication skills for this as well.
Are you a bundle of energy who acts with care and consideration? Do you love to pay attention to the minutiae of details and obsess over organising people, processes, and things? Are you the kind of person who enjoys working with people and doesn't want to spend every day stuck in an office? If so, then find out the steps you need to take next to become an Operating Theatre Technician.
Step 1: Choose Your Course
To become an Operating Theatre Technician you need to at least complete a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance. There are a number of course providers who offer this course. Depending on the job you apply for and where you plan to work, you may also need other qualifications such as a Certificate IV in Operating Theatre Technical Support.
Step 2: Apply for Your First Job as an Operating Theater Technician
Once you have the required qualifications (hurrah), you can begin to look for work as an Operating Theatre Technician. Don't forget to prepare a high-quality resume and cover letter. Make sure you personalise your documents each time to present yourself in the best light for the job you're applying for.
Step 3: Take Any Required Checks
After you have been offered a job you may need to complete various checks, such as police checks. You may need to get a "working with children" licence. Furthermore, you will also need Healthcare Workers Schedule A immunisations.
Step 4: Gain Experience
Once you have a job and have completed all the necessary checks you can get to work and enjoy your new role in a bustling healthcare environment. Over time you will gain valuable experience, and if you want this can pave the way for various career progressions.
Step 5: Consider a Specialisation
Once you have some experience you may have the opportunity to progress your career into a related role.
Medical Imaging Technologist
In this role, you specialise in operating the medical imaging equipment. For example, operating x-ray machines, MRI scans, and ultrasound equipment. This job takes you away from the bustling surgery environment, and you focus more on one-on-one patient communication while you operate the technical equipment.
Working with cancer patients you administer radiation treatments to help them battle their cancer. Following instructions, making complex calculations, and paying careful attention to detail you operate the radiation equipment. To move into this specialisation you may need to complete further training first.
In this specialisation, you test patients with audiometric tests to assess their hearing. Once tests have been carried out your patients may require you to fit hearing aids for them. Or they may be referred for other forms of counselling. Often working with elderly people, you need to have patience and to enjoy working with people on a daily basis.
What Does an Operating Theatre Technician Do?
When you work as an Operating Theatre Technician you will spend much of your time focused on practical tasks. However, you still need technical knowledge to carry out your duties correctly. You prepare the operating theatre for surgery, including setting up, checking, and adjusting equipment. In addition, you will often assist the surgeons, anaesthetists and surgical nurses with practical tasks during surgery.
The maintenance of the operating theatre equipment and the room itself is an important task which you take responsibility for. You need to ensure tools are clean, in good condition and you maintain the stock of operating theatre supplies . In addition, you play an important role interacting with patients as you take them to and from surgery. Sometimes helping to prepare them for surgery, and helping them to get into the correct position. You also offer patients your support while they are in the recovery room.
- Preparing the operating theatre for surgery
- Assisting during surgery
- Maintaining the operating theatre equipment
- Cleaning operating theatre
- Stocking operating theatre equipment
- Escorting patients to the theatre
- Giving support to patients while they are in the recovery room
Skills for Success
As an Operating Theatre Technician, your work requires a combination of technical knowledge, physical activity, and communication skills. Much of the day you are up and about, as you take people to and from surgery, and in-between prepare the theatre for the next surgery. Therefore, it is important to keep in good shape.
Furthermore, you need to pay excellent attention to detail and work in a methodical way. This is to avoid making errors which could have serious consequences. Such as taking the wrong patient to the wrong surgery, or not preparing the correct tools which the surgeon will need. Often, you will have to work quickly and under pressure, so you need to keep a cool head in a whirlwind of activity.
An important part of the job is the interactions you have with the patients whom you take to and from surgery. A cheery word and an understanding attitude can make a big difference to how they are feeling in what could be a difficult time in their life.
Skills & Attributes
- Excellent attention to detail
- Can work without supervision
- Able to work even when under pressure
- Can follow organised methodologies to minimise mistakes
- Enjoy working with people, and an excellent communicator
- In good physical shape
How much does a Operating Theatre Technician make? The average Operating Theatre Technician can earn $65,000 per year in Australia. This payrate can vary depending on your experience and abilities, this pay rate is only an indicator, according to Payscale 02/18.