After completing this 6 week online course, the participants will have a greater knowledge and understanding of the basic principles behind anaesthesia and be able to apply this to their own working practices.

This course discusses more advanced anaesthesia / analgesia concepts and research, and therefore may be more suitable for those experienced in anaesthesia and those considering undertaking further qualifications in this area.

Week 1
Pre-anaesthetic assessment and patient preparation for anaesthesia

  • Patient preparation
  • ASA status and patient assessment
  • Use of checklists
  • Breathing systems and checks
  • What are the aims of anaesthetic premedication
  • Practical considerations
  • What agents are available

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Will be able to correctly identify an appropriate breathing system and safe fresh gas flow rates for individual patients
  • Can confidently check an anaesthesia machine and breathing system to ensure they are safe to use
  • Will have an understanding of the ASA grading system and be able to designate and apply which status is appropriate for their individual patients
  • Can identify the benefits of using a peri-anaesthetic checklist and decide whether this can be advocated for their working environment
  • Can list the reasons for patient premedication and be able to identify practical aspects and factors within the clinic which may affect the efficacy of premedication
  • Will be able to identify the most common pharmacological agents used for sedation and anaesthesia

Week 2
Anaesthetic monitoring – Neurological and Respiratory System (plus other)

  • Basic, hands on monitoring (neurological system)
  • Respiratory monitoring
  • Other

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Will be able to recognise what are normal physiological parameters with regards to the neurological and respiratory systems for individual patients undergoing anaesthesia
  • Will be able to name the most common pieces of monitoring equipment for the respiratory system and be able to recognise what is a normal value/trace for each of these pieces
  • Will start to develop the skills to apply this knowledge to individual cases within the clinic with use of the available equipment

Week 3
Anaesthetic monitoring – Cardiovascular system

  • Cardiovascular monitoring
    • Basic, hands on
    • Blood pressure
    • Pulse oximetry
    • ECG

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Will be able to recognise what are normal physiological parameters with regards to the cardiovascular system for individual patients undergoing anaesthesia
  • Will be able to name the most common pieces of monitoring equipment for the cardiovascular system and be able to recognise what is a normal value/trace for each of these pieces
  • Will start to develop the skills to apply this knowledge to individual cases within the clinic with use of the available equipment

Week 4
Principles of peri-operative care including anaesthetic recovery

  • Anaesthetic risk
  • Airway management including tracheal intubation
  • Patient positioning
  • Eye care
  • Temperature
  • Fluid therapy
  • Patient recovery

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Will be able to identify important factors which require attention and care during a patient’s anaesthetic in order to optimise the patient’s peri-anaesthetic experience
  • Can accurately calculate fluid rates for individual patients and apply this to their clinical setting, whether this be with use of fluid pumps/syringe drivers or via gravity (calculating a drop rate)
  • Will be able to list available methods for patient warming, with recognition of the need to counter-act patient hypothermia and the potential risks associated with warming device use
  • Will recognise the critical importance of patient monitoring during anaesthetic recovery. Be able to describe the potential difficulties that may be encountered during the anaesthetic recovery period

Week 5
Pain assessment

  • Importance of pain assessment and management
  • Challenges of pain assessment in veterinary species
  • Pain assessment tools

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Will recognise the potential difficulties in performing pain assessment in veterinary species.
  • Will be able to name a number of pain assessment tools
  • Can advocate a pain assessment tool that would be suitable for their working environment
  • Will be able to recognise when patients (cats and dogs) are deemed to be painful

Week 6
Analgesia for acute peri-operative pain

  • A brief overview on the pain pathway with introduction to the concepts of multimodal and pre-emptive analgesia
  • Analgesic options, including:
    • A brief overview of the pharmacological means
    • Non-pharmacological methods

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants:

  • Be able to explain why provision of analgesia is important for patient welfare
  • Will be able to describe the concepts of multimodal and pre-emptive analgesia, with emphasis on why these are important for patient analgesia
  • Be able to explain why provision of analgesia is important
  • Can list potential analgesic options and apply this knowledge to consider appropriate therapeutic plans for individual patients
  • Will be have an appreciation of the important role that a veterinary nurse can play in providing non-pharmacological methods of analgesia and improving the patient experience.

This course will be fully tutored by Becky Robinson, and will consist of 15 hours of CPD given in various formats, including tutorials, tasks, case studies, forum discussions and quizzes.