How to become an Anesthesiologist
Anesthesiologist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities to become an Anesthesiologist
Anesthesiologist Salaries
Influential Anesthesiologists
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for Anesthesiologist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Anesthesiologist

Most Anesthesiologist candidates start with a bachelor's degree in some sort of biological science. After a 4-year college degree, all potential anesthesiologists must complete a 4-year medical degree in either medicine or osteopathy. After completing medical school, those choosing to specialize in anesthesiology complete four years of residency. Many anesthesiologists continue their education with a fellowship year concentrating on sub-specialties such as cardiac anesthesiology, pain management, or neuro-anesthesiology.

Anesthesiologists receive training in perioperative medicine. This includes pre-operative evaluation, life support during surgery, pain control, post-operative recovery, intensive care, and pain management.

What does an Anesthesiologist do?

Anesthesiology has a wide range of applications and sub-specialties. Many anesthesiologists are involved in perioperative medicine, which involves caring for the patient before, during and after surgery. Anesthesiologists can also specialize in pediatric, cardiothoracic, transplant, obstetric, neurosurgical and Intensive Care patients. Some anesthesiologists diagnose and treat chronic pain conditions, as well as acute pain therapy.

Many anesthesiologists administer anesthesia to relieve pain during surgical procedures. They are responsible for the patient's care before, during and after surgery. Before surgery, the anesthesiologist evaluates the current medical condition of the patient, including an analysis of any pre-existing medical conditions.

The anesthesiologist is part of the surgical team, assisting in planning the surgery. During surgery, the anesthesiologist oversees vital life functions such as breathing, heart rhythm and blood pressure, the administration of pain control, and diagnostic evaluations during surgery if necessary.

After surgery, the anesthesiologist maintains patient comfort while managing life support and any possible complications that occurred during surgery. Anesthesiologists provide critical care medicine while the patient remains in the intensive care unit. Anesthesiologists are also responsible for the management of cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation, advanced life support, and stabilizing and preparing patients for emergency surgery.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists become physicians first, so they must be willing to commit to the 12-13 years of post-high school education that is required before they become a board-certified anesthesiologist.

Anesthesiologists encounter complicated and difficult medical and surgical situations where the patient's life in at stake. While they are trained to have the skills to meet these challenges, they must have the innate quality of being calm under pressure. An anesthesiologist must be able to be comfortable making decisions in the high-stress and fast-paced environments of hospital surgery.

Anyone wishing to become an anesthesiologist must value the intense doctor-patient relations that are required to perform the job well. Anesthesiologists meet with patients before surgery to discuss medical history, current medications, the risks and benefits of their anesthetic choices, answer questions and allay patient anxiety. The anesthesiologist also serves as the patient's advocate during the surgery. A long-term relationship can develop between doctor and patient during the treatment of chronic pain or in critical care units.

Even in solo practice, an anesthesiologist must work as part of a team. Anesthesiologists work continuously with a variety of medical professionals, no matter what their work environment or sub-specialty may be. Anesthesiologists must enjoy practicing during a variety of medical situations, since they work with all types of surgeries.

How much do Anesthesiologists make?

Anesthesiologists have among the highest hourly wages among healthcare practitioners, making higher wages than psychiatrists and orthodontists.

As of 2007, anesthesiologists made between $165,000 and $200,000 per year, depending on the sector. The sectors with the highest wages were physician's offices, hospitals, and universities. Offices of various health practitioners such as chiropractors and occupational therapists paid the lowest wages to anesthesiologists.

Who are some influential Anesthesiologists in this field?

The current president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists is Jeffrey L. Apfelbaum, M.D. with the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, University of Chicago Hospital, Chicago, IL. Emmett Whitaker, a second-year medical student in 2004, began the Medical Student Component of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Some notable educators in the field are James L. Robotham, M.D., the Chair of Anesthesiology for the University of Rochester in New York and Ronald G. Pearl, M.D., Ph.D., a Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Stanford University.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific association of physicians. The association is dedicated to improve the care of patients by raising the standards of anesthesiology practice through education and research. From its inception, the American Society of Anesthesiologists has been an advocate for patients requiring anesthesia and relief from pain.

The American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (ASCCA) was founded to address the unique concerns of physicians certified in Critical Care Medicine. The goal of ASCCA's members is to promote a multidisciplinary approach to critical care medicine.

The Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) is a coalition of professional organizations from various disciplines whose members are involved in the care of surgical patients.

The Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology (WLM) is located in the headquarters of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Park Ridge, Illinois. This museum is one of the world's most prestigious collections devoted to anesthesia history. The Wood Library-Museum also serves as a specialized medical library.

What are the top cities for Anesthesiologist Jobs?

Anesthesiology is one of the fastest growing medical specialties. Anesthesiologists have the benefits of flexibility in the type of practice, a variety of geographic locations and a competitive income.

Anesthesiologists can work almost anywhere. Anesthesiologists can practice individually, join a group practice, or become associated with a medical center or hospital. Anesthesiologists are also needed in hospital-affiliated ambulatory care clinics. The highest concentration of anesthesiologist jobs in 2007 were in Champaign-Urbana, IL, Sioux Falls, SD, and Burlington-South Burlington, VT. Wilmington, DE was one of the top paying cities in 2007.

Other Careers of Interest

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