What Do Anesthesiologists Do?
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors whose job is to administer anesthesia to patients before, during or after a surgery. They apply either general or local anesthesia before surgery and will also help keep the patient’s pain in check after the procedure. Most of an anesthesiologist’s critical work, however, is performed in the operating room. He or she stays by the patient’s bedside during the entire procedure, keeping an eye on the vital signs. By monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and breathing rate, an anesthesiologist is able to ensure the patient is experiencing neither awareness nor pain.It is predicted that in ten years’ time, the national demand for anesthetic providers will have increased by 24 percent. This means that, on average, there will be 1,670 new openings for this job every year.
Anesthesiologists Skills and Abilities
As with all great anesthesiologists, it is crucial that you have judgment and decision-making skills. Since a patient’s comfort and health are greatly affected by your actions, weighing the risks and benefits of your choices and letting your knowledge inform your decision is paramount to succeeding in your field. To convey technical information to patients and their families, possessing strong communication skills is critical. The ability to solve a problem logically is necessary, but before you can solve an issue, you must be able to tell if there is an issue or if one is likely to develop.
As an anesthetic provider, it will be your responsibility to examine your patients to assess their level of risk going into medical procedures and use the information garnered to make any needed adjustments to their surgery plan. Before, during and after the surgery, you will administer the appropriate dose of anesthesia to your patients. During the surgery, you will have to monitor the patient’s vitals and work together with the surgeon to ensure the patient is receiving anesthesia as needed. At the end of the surgery, it will be left up to you to decide when the patient is stable enough to be moved to another room. From pre-op to post-op, it is your duty to monitor your patients, keeping an eye out for any anesthesia-related complications and doing what is necessary to counteract them.More peripheral duties will include:
- Educating the other healthcare staff on anesthesia administration and methods to counteract adverse reactions
- Educating patients on how to help prevent illness
- Conducting research investigating new disease prevention methods, medications, and medical techniques
Anesthesiologists Tools and Technology
There are many specialized tools you will need, including calibrated vaporizers, intra-arterial catheters, and anesthesia monitors. As an anesthesiologist, you will need to know how to work software programs dedicated to performing and monitoring complex medical tasks. Basic computer knowledge is also important, as everything from record-keeping to daily tasks are now performed electronically.
Education and Training for Anesthesiologists
Becoming an anesthesiologist requires a minimum of 12 years of postsecondary education. A bachelor’s degree in pre-medical study is the first step. Following that, aspiring anesthesiologists must complete another four years to obtain a doctorate degree in medicine or osteopathy. From there, another four years of intense anesthesiology training is required. Although you can choose to end your schooling there, many budding anesthesiologists will choose to complete one more year of study in a subspecialty such as cardiac, pediatric, or obstetric care.
Anesthesiologists can be paid a wide range of salaries, depending on subspecialties and experience. They range from $151,500 – $450,000, with a mean of $246,320.
Anesthesiologists Jobs by Geography
Overall, the United States has a shortage of anesthesiologists, and it’s been predicted that this shortage will continue into 2020. While this is encouraging news if you’re planning on becoming an anesthesiologist, there are some states that actually sport a surplus of anesthetic providers. It would be wise to research the best locations for entering into this career.