what does an anesthesiologist do

What does an Anesthesiologist do?

An anesthesiologist is responsible to sedate a patient or numb parts of a patient’s body so that a surgery can be virtually painless. They also monitor the patient before, during, and after anesthesia and watch for adverse reactions or complications.

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How to Become an Anesthesiologist

what does an anesthesiologist do

Anesthesiologists must complete a four year degree and complete medical school. After completion of medical school, they must complete an additional four years of an anesthesiology residency program.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (link opens in a new tab) provides an explanation of the education required of anesthesiologists, “it requires a physician who has the extensive medical education (up to 14 years) and clinical training (12,000-16,000 hours) to evaluate your medical condition, recommend an appropriate anesthesia plan, diagnose and treat problems that might surface during a procedure, and make critical, split-second decisions that can save your life.”

Job Description of an Anesthesiologist

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, anesthesiologists are, “primarily responsible for the safety and well-being of patients before, during, and after surgery. This may include placing them in the state of controlled unconsciousness called “general anesthesia,” the provision of “regional anesthetics” where only a portion of the body is made numb, or administering sedation when indicated for the relief of pain or anxiety.” For a more detailed list of tasks an anesthesiologist performs, check out the job description that follows.

Anesthesiologist Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

The Physician will perform as a staff anesthesiologist in the Anesthesiology Service with specific duties to provide care to those in the operating room, critical care units, and pain clinic. This position is necessary to provide specialized clinical Anesthesiology services for surgical patients and those undergoing other painful non-operative procedures. Other clinical skills may include diagnostic trans-esophageal echocardiography, critical care medicine, and pain management. The incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Providing anesthesia patient care in other areas such as the general operating room, including supervision of residents and CRNAs.
  • Providing anesthesia patient care in other areas such as the post anesthesia care unit and clinics where patients undergo off-site anesthesia for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
  • He/she must meet anesthesia-related documentation requirements set forth by Joint Commission and participate in development and implementation of program planning, objectives, and standards essential to delivery of quality anesthetic care in the areas noted above.
  • Providing on-call coverage of the ICU and operating rooms as indicated by specific training is subspecialty area.
  • Assignment will include night/weekend on-call coverage responsibilities.
  • Other clinical skills may include diagnostic trans-esophageal echocardiography, critical care medicine, perioperative medicine and pain management. Duties may also include basic clinical, and translational research in areas pertaining to the care of veteran patients, including, but not limited to acute and chronic pain management, critical illness, surgical anesthesia, and related disciplines.

This position was posted to run 03/14/2019 until 08/31/2019 with a salary range of $103,395 to $400,000 per year on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

  • PBS along with Nova host a wide range of topics on the Body and Brain (link opens in a new tab) via articles, videos, and even interactive experiences like their Operation: Heart Transplant interactive (link opens in a new tab).
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges also has a collection of medical student video interviews (link opens in a new window) on their website. These are embedded videos from YouTube, so if YouTube is blocked at your school, you could share the link with students to access outside of school hours.
  • To learn more about getting into medical school, the Association of American Medical Colleges has a free Getting into Medical Guide (link opens in a new window) for pre-med students.

Free Human Anatomy Online Course

The The Hong Kong Polytechnic University offers a free Human Anatomy course on EdX.org (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • Effects of stroke on the human body.
  • Anatomy of relevant body systems at gross and histological levels.
  • Services provided by healthcare professionals for stroke patients.
  • Relevant knowledge of anatomy for application of clinical procedures.

Related Careers to Research:

Anesthesiologist Career Video Transcript

For centuries, surgery was often an agonizing experience. Through advances in medicine, anesthesiologists are able to make operations virtually pain-free. Except in emergencies, the anesthesiologist usually meets with the patient prior to the surgery. The doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history, and explain the type of anesthesia that will be used, as well as possible side effects. Before the operation begins, the doctor administers the anesthesia and checks to see that it’s taking effect.

An anesthesiologist monitors the patient’s vital signs: heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing. The amount of anesthesia may need to be continually adjusted to ensure the patient is properly sedated. It’s a mentally-demanding, high pressure job. The patient’s life is in this doctor’s hands. Most work is in operating rooms at hospitals or surgical outpatient centers. They may also handle pain management in intensive care units and during labor and delivery. Hours can be long and irregular.

Even after the surgery is completed, anesthesiologists continue to watch over patients, ensuring they come out of the anesthesia successfully. Anesthesiologists complete 4 years of residency training after medical school. After residency, they may pursue additional years of fellowship training in subspecialties such as cardiothoracic anesthesia and critical care. Millions of operations are performed each year. Many of them just wouldn’t be possible without the knowledge and expertise of anesthesiologists.

Article Citations

National Center for O*NET Development. 29-1061.00. O*NET OnLine.

The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.