What does a Anesthesiologist do?

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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:

Our Anesthesia Staff have a broad, deep range of expertise and are looking for the right candidates to support our commitment to excellence. The incumbent will be responsible for direct supervision of peri-operative anesthetic care to patients, including preoperative assessment, intra-operative anesthetic administration and monitoring, and post-anesthesia care, in compliance with national accreditation standards.

Types of surgeries include but are not limited to: general surgery, orthopedics, plastics, ophthalmology, vascular, thoracic, and oral surgery. No cardiac or neurosurgery, Pediatrics, or Obstetrics. There will be resident supervision on most of the times and must take on call from home and occasionally you are called in 0-3 times a month. The attending Anesthesiologist will perform a full range of duties in Anesthesiology. The incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Act as consultants in the management of problems in acute and chronic respiratory disease or a consultant regarding other diagnostic and therapeutic measures related to the hospital patient care when requested by medical or surgical staff.
  • Prepare drugs properly for use in anesthesia administration.
  • Conduct pre-operative care of patients in the PACU.
  • Write pre-operative orders as needed.
  • Re-evaluate patient prior to induction of anesthesia. This may include reevaluation of neurological , pulmonary and cardiac status.
  • Ensure medication security at all times.
  • Assist in resuscitative procedures such as cardiac arrest or respiratory problems as needed.
  • Assist in in-service educational programs regarding anesthesia care.
  • Attend all departmental conferences.
  • Participate in research projects.
  • Participate in Continuing Medical Education Program, workshops, congresses and seminars.
  • Participation in care of patients in ICU, X-ray, CCU and emergency room, as requested.

This position was posted to run 01/08/2019 until 01/28/2019 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.