What is the job of an Anesthesiologist?

Do you have the ability to be calm under pressure? Can you make decisions quickly and without panicking when placed under the spotlight while showing considerable hand-eye coordination and strong dexterity when it comes to working with your fingers? If your answer to all of the above is yes; then perhaps you have a shot in making a career as an anesthesiologist. Being one of the most highly paid professions, the job of an anesthesiologist is much more than administering anesthesia to a patient during surgeries.  

What is an anesthesiologist?

Woman wearing scrubs and smiling

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, anesthesiology involves the use of medication used by surgical patients before, during and they have had their surgery. This encompasses providing relief from pain as well as total care of the patient itself.

The job of an anesthesiologist begins with conducting a thorough evaluation of the patient right before an operation. This is followed by supervision of the pain medication during the surgery, monitoring vital measures of the patient, and their level of pain during the state of unconsciousness throughout the operation. Once the procedure concludes, the anesthesiologist continues to keep a close watch on the patient and is then responsible for reversing the effects of anesthesia while trying their best to keep the patient as comfortable as possible during recovery.

Skills Required

Anesthesiologists play a pivotal role during all surgeries. This is why a certain set of skills and competencies is expected of them. These mainly include:

  • The ability to pay attention to detail 
  • Sound verbal communication skills
  • critical thinking
  • being proactive
  • Problem-solving
  • Crisis and risk management

Educational requirements and certifications

Certification graphic

Like any other doctor, an anesthesiologist must also begin by completing a four-year undergraduate degree followed by another four years of medical school. Once this is complete, you must then complete a four-year anesthesiology residency program. The job of an anesthesiologist doesn’t just begin after the residency program. 

According to the guidelines laid out by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), they must then sit for further examinations, followed by a year of a fellowship program to train in the area they wish to specialize in. some of the most widely sought-out specialization fields by any aspiring anesthesiologist include:

  • Critical care medicine
  • Pain management
  • Neuro-anesthesia
  • Cardiac anesthesia
  • Obstetric anesthesia
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Hospice and palliative medicine

Duties, Role, and Responsibilities

Alongside other responsibilities, such as communicating and conducting an in-depth evaluation of the patient, other key responsibilities which are a crucial part of the job of an anesthesiologist include:

  • Administering pain relief; both during and after the surgery or medical procedures
  • Approving the type of anesthesia to be administered (local, regional, or sedative) as well as informing patients of their associated risks
  • Monitoring patients and their well-being; both before and after the surgery or medical procedure
  • Carefully supervising their anesthesia assistant
  • Reviewing patient files and lab results 
  • Complying with hospital rules, regulations and policy

Types of Anesthesiologists

Although every anesthesiologist is trained to tackle the basic pain management and support in surgical interventions, they do have the option to specialize in one of the following fields:

  • Cardiac (for heart surgery)
  • Neurological ( for surgeries related to the brain, the nervous system, and spinal cord)
  • Obstetrics (for pregnancy, labor, and deliveries)
  • Palliative care

What about the work schedule?

As far as work schedule goes than the schedule of an anesthesiologist is as highly irregular as of any doctor. Although the working hours may not be longer than that of a surgeon due to the shortages of anesthesiologists in the United States of America, many anesthesiologists end up working full time.

Career Outlook

At the moment, anesthesiologists tend to represent only a meager 5% of the medical workforce. While the field of medicine continues to expand, so does the need for qualified and skilled anesthesiologists. No doubt the job of an anesthesiologist ranks as of the most in-demand jobs today. In fact, according to the statistics produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor; even after working as much as 60 hours a week, the number of anesthesiologists in the country is predicted to increase by almost 15% by the year 2026. 

Read More: What were the responsibilities of your last position?

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