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Anesthesia Technicians and Technologists (ATs) have long worked alongside peri-operative nursing staff under the supervision of UNC Medical Center (UNCMC)’s Surgical Services. Their roles in the OR with anesthesiologists and CRNAs are similar, enough so to warrant recent discussion that they join the Department of Anesthesiology’s network of anesthesia care providers.

(L to R): Current and former ATs Corine Thompson, Chris Burns, Sam Acheampong and Mark Simmons

Late summer, School of Medicine (SOM) and UNCMC anesthesia care leadership met to discuss shifting this group to departmental oversight. Department Assistant Professor Dr. Chris Howard and UNC Health Care Anesthesia Support Manager Gail Walker are facilitating this transition.

“The [ATs] are an integral part of the anesthesia care team of physicians and CRNAs. It makes sense for us all to be under the same management to better align our focus and goals toward providing the best patient care possible,” Howard said.

“In the 25 years I’ve been at UNC, the [ATs] have always identified with the anesthesia providers and been treated as part of the anesthesia care team,” Walker said. “This transition cements a relationship that’s existed for many years and is just now being made official.”

As previously done with CRNAs, ATs will integrate into the Department. Shifting to SOM oversight benefits the Department’s goals of sustaining a positive, fulfilling work environment for all UNCMC anesthesia care providers, as well as patient safety and efficient practices.

From ATs to anesthesiologists, Howard noted, the goal over the next few months is for every anesthesia care team member to share management and resources, from evaluations to administrative staff to education.

The new relationship will better facilitate multidiscliplinary QI and research projects. And, the Department expects to be better positioned to meet the needs of the ATs, such as exploring the creation of an AT program with a local community college partner.

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