Anesthesiologists play an important role in the treatment of surgical patients as they provide them with pain relief before, during and after surgery. An anesthesiologist is a physician who has acquired a proper training in anesthesia and perioperative medicine. He usually administers anesthetics during surgery but he can also administer them during other medical procedures. Not only the patients but also the surgeons who handle critical surgical cases feel that good and responsible anesthesiologists are not so common as other physicians. Here is an overview of anesthesiologist requirements.
Extensive education is needed to become an expert anesthesiologist, which includes four years of undergraduate schooling, four years in medical school, internship (one year) and anesthesiology residency (three/four years), lasting up to at least eight years. Sub-specialization in cardiovascular, obstetric, critical care, or neuroanesthesia, etc. can be done through a fellowship of 1 to 3 years. Anesthesiologist education requirements are quite demanding, perhaps that is why anesthesiologist job is one of the highest paying medical jobs. It is in fact one of the most respected hospital jobs. Like all physicians, anesthesiologists also need to be board-certified prior to entering medical practice.
Duties and Responsibilities
If you have ever come across an anesthesiologist job description, you must have read what is expected from an anesthesiologist. He/she is expected to manage the pain experienced by a patient before, during and immediately after a surgery. While performing the duty, he/she needs to monitor and control patient's vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, breathing, allowing surgeons and other physicians to safely perform life-saving surgeries and other procedures. It involves tremendous skill to place the patient safely under anesthesia and make sure that he is devoid of pain. He/she administers specific medicines, numbing agents, particular gases to attain patients unconscious during surgery. When surgery is complete, it is the anesthesiologist's responsibility to oversee the patient's recovery and manage pain as the patient awakens from general anesthesia. Thus he is also held responsible for post-operative pain relief medication.
During a surgery, an anesthesiologist has to take quick decisions, for instance, if required, he may have to ask for replenishment of lost fluids and blood during an operation. In a critical condition, if a patient's body reacts negatively to the anesthesia, the doctor who administers anesthesia must be capable of using his broad knowledge of different types of medicines to take care of the problem and stabilize the patient. It is the anesthesiologist who decides as to when a patient can be taken out to a recovery room and when the patient can be shifted to a normal hospital room. Anesthesiologists are also required in the intensive care units to manage pain experienced by patients with chronic conditions; as he is the one who can stabilize critical conditions. The job requires extensive knowledge, skills, patience of mind; but at the same time, the doctor can enjoy great job satisfaction which is just incomparable.
Besides being intelligent, an anesthesiologist must be a good problem-solver. The person who is confident about his knowledge can take quick and correct decisions during surgery. He is expected to meet patients before the surgery, to discuss concerns, allergies, current medications, medical history, existing medical conditions, etc. It is possible that any of the information gathered may play a major role in the effectiveness and type of anesthesia to be administered. When in the operating room, anesthesiologists are part of a team, so they need to work well with others. If you are thinking of becoming an anesthetist, you should closely observe yourself and find out whether you would really be able to work for long hours (almost 60 hours per week) under heavy stress.
Anesthesiologist salary range is quite attractive as he is among the highest-paid doctors. According to study reports, a few years ago, the average yearly salary for anesthesiologists with at least one year of experience was $345,000. He/she can make a very good living.
Anesthesiologists sometimes share joyous moments with patients, for example, at the time of childbirth. Sometimes they may come across tremendous stressful situations, for example, during brain and heart surgeries. The job is full of challenges but it can also boost the self-confidence of the doctor and offer him/her unbeatable satisfaction as he/she plays a crucial role in the care and overall health of critically ill individuals.