Being an Anesthesiologist: An Inside Look

Is being an anesthesiologist right for you?

From easing patient pain to saving lives, anesthesiologists do a lot behind the scenes. Most people are only familiar with the administering anesthesia part. Which is only a glimpse compared to what happens throughout the rest of an anesthesiologist’s day.

These healthcare professionals play an active role before, throughout, and after surgery. Types of procedures vary too. An anesthesiologist may be present for serious operations, such as an emergency surgery, or less life-threatening situations, such as a tooth extraction.

Regardless of the operation’s severity, anesthesiologists are vital in the healthcare industry. They ensure patient’s comfort throughout uncomfortable situations and save lives daily. Let’s take a look at what it is like to be an anesthesiologist and the road to get there.

More Than a Decade of Dedication

Learning to be patient, empathic, and how to handle worst case scenarios takes time. Due to this, a budding anesthesiologist must undergo over a decade of preparation. And it starts with 8 years in med school.

Once this leg of the journey is completed, aspiring anesthesiologists must undertake a 4-year residency program. After which, potential anesthesiologists can buckle down and participate in another year of training.

Doing so makes it possible for you to specialize in a single area of expertise. Which means more job opportunities as well as a pay increase. Some specific areas include critical care, sleep medicine, pain management, and pediatric anesthesia.

Bear in mind, you do not have to pursue a 13th year of training. However, doing so may make getting certified easier. Anesthesiologists with more hands-on training have increased odds of remembering everything come test time. Only those able to pass the board exam, such as the one administered by the American Board of Anesthesiology, can move on to the next step.

Making it Official

Upon getting certified, anesthesiologists increase their workload immensely. Most find themselves working 60-80 hours a week. Although this is an intense schedule, being immersed in the hospital environment for long stretches helps reinforce procedures.

Over time, the repetition helps anesthesiologists recognize telltale warning signs earlier. Experience teaches the best courses of action to take, when to act on them, and how to handle things if the plan does not work out.

An Average Day

Before administering anesthesia, anesthesiologists must know their patient. Specifically, the meds they are on, allergies, past surgeries, and anesthetic record. With this information, anesthesiologists organize a game plan for surgery in order to keep the patient comfortable and breathing.

Speaking of which, anesthesiologists may also install a patient’s breathing tube, which is no easy feat to do correctly. In addition, anesthesiologists must be on high alert during surgery to ensure negative events do not happen. This requires foresight into the surgeon’s next few steps and vigilant organization.

Those able to keep up with the blistering fast pace set forth by the hospital are rewarded handsomely. Full-time anesthesiologists make over $250,000 on average. But bear in mind, there are a lot of deductions coming out of that salary. Malpractice insurance, school loans, and ongoing education fees to name a few.