Anesthesiologist – Salary, Schooling, Job Information, and More

Surgery is a medical treatment that involves treating disorders and diseases through an operative procedure. In the operation room, there are several professionals involved one of them being an anesthesiologist.

Who is an anesthesiologist?

They are highly skilled medical doctors with a specialty in anesthesiology. Anesthesiology is a division of medicine that involves relieving chronic and acute pain and total care of surgical patients. An anesthesiologist is entirely responsible for the safety of patients before, during and after an operation.


The role of anesthesiologist

a) Before surgery

  • They talk to the patient and establish an anesthetic plan
  • They ensure that the patient is ready for the operation
  • Ensure that the patient is medically fit to undergo surgery.

After developing an anesthetic plan, the anesthesiologist administers it either by placing the patient in controlled unconsciousness (general anesthesia), local anesthesia (numbing a small portion of the body) or by regional anesthesia (numbing a larger body part). The type of anesthesia is dependent on the type of surgery, patients preference and health history.

b) During Surgery

An anesthesiologist ensures that the patient is comfortable, pain-free and safe. What does this medical specialist do in the operation room?

  • Monitor the vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and temperature.
  • Prevent and manage any problem that may arise during surgery
  • Making proper adjustments where need be
  • Monitor the level and the depth of anesthesia

c) Postoperative care

The type of anesthetic and operation dictates the aftercare of a patient. An anesthesiologist-:

  • Manages patients who require critical care in the intensive unit.
  • Management of pain that may result from the surgery
  • Minimize stress response to the procedure
  • Recommend blood transfusion therapies and respiratory therapies etc
  • In some cases cardiac and respiratory resuscitation

How to become an anesthesiologist

A high school student who aspires to be anesthesiologist should undertake advanced science classes and volunteer or work in a hospital. After high school, one undertakes a four-year undergraduate college program with a pre-medical curriculum. Later they take a four-year graduate education in medical school for a medical or Osteopathy. One must pass the US Medical Licensing exam before enrolling for anesthesiology residence which takes an additional four years. After residency, one undertakes another year of study (fellowship) and specializes in a specific area such as-:

  • Critical care medicine
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Pain medicine
  • Research
  • Neurosurgical Anesthesia
  • Orthopedic anesthesia
  • Hospice and palliative medicine

How long does it take to become an anesthesiologist? Well, one may take up to 13 years, but it is worth all the efforts as jobs are readily available, and the salary is lucrative.

Anesthesia care team

The anesthesiologist is in charge of an anesthesia care team which includes an anesthesiologist assistant, nurse anesthetist, anesthesiology resident physician, student nurse anesthetist, and anesthesiologist assistant student. The anesthesiologist delegates tasks and monitors the team who must work together to provide the optimum patient safety and care.

Anesthesiologist assistant

They are well-trained professionals who undertake four years undergraduate college degree with a pre-medical curriculum and an Anesthesiologist Assistant Education Program. To get certification, they undertake a National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants exam. A qualified anesthesiologist assistant is well versed in advanced cardiac life support and life-saving measures such as CPR.

Nurse Anesthesiologist

For one to be a nurse anesthesiologist, they must be registered nurses and must complete accredited Nurse Anesthesia Training Program which takes two to three years. One must also be a Bachelor of Science holder and have one year of practice experience. After undertaking the program, one has to pass a National Certification exam.

In the medical field of anesthesiology, it is clear that one needs proper schooling, be observant, be a quick thinker and a detail-oriented individual.