Q&A: What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?

Surgery would be a far more unpleasant experience if it werent for anesthesiologists. These specialists give you medicine to prevent pain and, if necessary, make sure you sleep through your procedure.

Anesthesiologists dont just work in the operating room. They also give pain relief if you have an ongoing condition like back pain or cancer. And after surgery, they sometimes help you control pain after you get home, too.

So You Want to Be an ANESTHESIOLOGIST [Ep. 12]

How long does it take to become an anesthesiologist?

You can typically expect to complete approximately 12 years of training to become an anesthesiologist. You must start by obtaining a bachelors degree, which typically takes four years depending on the program. Next, you must attend medical school, which usually takes four years. During the first two years of medical school, you generally spend your time in the classroom, and you spend the final two years in clinical practice.

After graduating from medical school, aspiring anesthesiologists must complete a four-year residency in anesthesiology. During this residency, the medical school graduate trains with faculty to learn how to complete the day-to-day tasks of an anesthesiologist. After completing a residency, some doctors may pursue additional training in a fellowship in order to specialize in a particular area, such as obstetric anesthesiology, pain management or pediatric anesthesiology.

In order to reduce the amount of time that it takes to become a physician, some students enroll in combined undergraduate and medical school programs that allow them to complete both within six years instead of the traditional eight.

What is an anesthesiologist?

An anesthesiologist is a physician who specializes in providing pain relief for patients before, during and after surgical procedures. They develop anesthetic plans and administer anesthetics. Before surgery, the anesthesiologist meets with the patient for an evaluation and then develops a plan for managing pain during surgery. When the patient is ready for surgery, the anesthesiologist supervises the administration of medication so the patient doesnt experience pain during surgery.

During the surgical procedure, the anesthesiologist is responsible for monitoring the patients heart rate, breathing, body temperature, blood pressure and fluid balance. They provide a combination of medications to control the patients vital measurements and pain levels, ensuring they stay pain-free for the duration of the procedure. After the surgery, the anesthesiologist is responsible for reversing the effects of the pain medication and ensuring the patient remains comfortable in recovery.

Depending on their specialization, some anesthesiologists work in critical care and emergency departments. They evaluate patients, make diagnoses and provide support to help patients with circulation and breathing. They also take preventative measures to avoid infections.

What skills do anesthesiologists need?

Anesthesiologists need to have a number of skills to succeed in the role, including:

What are specializations for anesthesiologists?

While every anesthesiologist is trained to support surgeons in an operating room, some specialize in a particular area. Some possible specializations for anesthesiologists include:

How much does an anesthesiologist make?

There are two different certifications or licenses that are required or available for anesthesiologists:

What’s the job outlook for anesthesiologists?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for physicians, including anesthesiologists, is expected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, slightly faster than the 5% average for all occupations. The aging population is expected to drive the increased need for physicians services.

What is the work environment for anesthesiologists?

Anesthesiologists typically work in hospital settings, although they may work in clinics and treatment centers. They often work in sterile environments with other physicians who are performing surgical procedures. They may be required to stand for long periods of time during surgeries.


What exactly does an anesthesiologist do?

Per the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the primary roles of anesthesiologist during surgery are to: Provide continual medical assessment of the patient. Monitor and control the patient’s vital life functions, including heart rate and rhythm, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature and body fluid balance.

How many years does it take to be an anesthesiologist?

It typically takes 12-14 years to become a licensed anesthesiologist: four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school, and four years of residency, followed by one year in a fellowship program or two years in private practice.

Are anesthesiologists rich?

Anesthesiologists are the top earners in the U.S., bringing in an average salary of $265,990. Surgeons follow close behind, with an average annual salary of $251,890, while obstetricians and gynecologists earn an average of $235,240, according to the data.

Can anesthesiologists do surgery?

Why should patients care about anesthesia? Your anesthesiologist allows you to undergo surgery safely and comfortably. Anesthesiologists use specialized techniques during surgery to accomplish this.

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