Anaesthetic nurse training in South Africa and the role of the anaesthetist


One night during a polytrauma theatre case, I asked the anaesthetic nurse to run a blood gas analysis in a nearby intensive care unit. He returned with saline, glucose and insulin, announcing from the door that “we need to crank up the respiratory rate a bit and shift the potassium”. To me, that was the embodiment of the  anaesthetic nurse. He referred to “we” because he saw himself as part of the team. In that one moment, he displayed not only his knowledge of physiology and pharmacology but every category of non-technical skill defined in the anaesthetists’ non-technical skills (ANTS) framework – teamwork, situational awareness, task management and decision-making.1 Of course it was not his first day on the job. He drew on years of experience, training and inquisitive self-learning.

Author Biography

S Spijkerman, University of Pretoria

Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Pretoria and Steve Biko Academic Hospital, South Africa

Guest Editorial