Statement on the Clinical Use of Uncertified Personnel
Developed By: Executive Committee
Last Amended: January 1, 2022 (original approval: October 23, 2021)
Anesthesia Technology is an allied health profession, specifically focused on fundamental and advanced clinical procedures, which assist the anesthesia provider in the safe and efficient care of patients undergoing procedures requiring and/or related to anesthetic care. Historically, the role of such personnel in the perioperative setting, associated duties of employment, and defined job descriptions have been largely varied and inconsistent across the country. Many health care organizations implement the use of untrained personnel in the role, often requiring only a high school diploma as the entry barrier to employment. It is for this reason that the American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) strongly believes that all personnel providing ancillary related care, both directly and indirectly to patients undergoing anesthesia, must demonstrate competencies and possess qualifications appropriate for the provision of such services.
The minimum requirements for education, training, and competency meeting said standards are provided via the national certification examination (NCE) which can only be obtained after entering and successfully completing a unique and rigorous formalized educational process in the field of anesthesia technology, which confers both an associate level college degree and outcomes-based clinical skill set appropriate for entry level professional engagement in the field. Therefore, ASATT will only endorse this practice as one that is limited to those who have demonstrated such ability by successfully passing the NCE.
The continued use of uncertified anesthesia technical staff to perform clinical duties in hospitals across the country has become of great concern to our society, as the use of such unqualified personnel in the clinical capacity has a direct negative impact on patient care. We firmly believe that standard clinical duties assigned to anesthesia technical staff, including, but not limited to airway management, transducer assembly, machine diagnostics, intra-aortic balloon pump, cell salvage, blood administration, rapid transfusion devices, point-of-care testing, and advanced hemodynamic monitoring, should only be performed by those who hold an unencumbered certification issued by ASATT. Furthermore, procedural assistance during the anesthesia care continuum including, intravascular access, intravascular monitoring, general, regional, and neuraxial anesthesia, should only be performed by individuals who carry an unencumbered certification in the profession.
Certified Anesthesia Technologists (Cer.A.T.T.) and Technicians (Cer.A.T.) are individuals who have validated their cognitive and psychomotor abilities through examination and subsequent certification. These individuals are required by ASATT to maintain professional development via continuing education earned on a biannual basis. All other allied health professions use the above-mentioned practices to ensure patient safety and the maintenance of professional and clinical competency—a practice ASATT also endorses.