Becoming an anesthesiologist is a career that has many opportunities and challenges. You will need to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree in medicine, anesthesia, or another related field before you can begin practicing. You will also need to pass a rigorous certification program. In order to be successful, you will need to be able to work with patients and care for them during the procedures they undergo. You will also need to be able to work with a variety of medical supplies and equipment.
What is an anesthesiologist?
Anesthesiologists are professionals who provide care during surgery. They work with the patient and their family to achieve the best possible outcome. Anesthesiologists are also responsible for performing other medical procedures, such as childbirth, anesthesia, and heart surgery.
An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the medical field of anesthesiology. An anesthesiologist may hold either a Doctor Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Degree or a Doctor of Medicine (MD). These medical professionals have been specially trained to use anesthesia on patients before and during various medical procedures and surgeries.
The anesthetics that an anesthesiologist uses vary greatly and may include mild numbing agents to general anesthesia. Anesthesiologists work as a team with other medical professionals including doctors, surgeons, surgical technologists and nurses.
Anesthesiologists must be extensively trained in not only anesthetics but also pharmacology, physiology and other areas that directly relate to administering anesthesia to patients and monitoring them throughout surgery.
They must know how to monitor a patient’s blood pressure, airways and respiration rates, as well as their pulmonary and cardiovascular health throughout a medical procedure. Should any of these areas falter, an anesthesiologist must know how to resuscitate the patient or use other means to ensure the patient is returned to health.
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What does an anesthesiologist do?
Anesthesiologists play a vital role before, during and after a surgical procedure. The following are duties that an anesthesiologist may perform:
Anesthesiologists work with patients before surgery to ensure they are suited for surgery and are able to handle anesthesia. These doctors will extensively review your medical history as well as answer any questions you may have about the anesthetic process related to your medical procedure. They will then administer the anesthesia before the surgery and begin monitoring your vital signs.
An anesthesiologist will monitor a patient throughout the entirety of a surgery to manage pain and keep vital signs in check. They will also manage any chronic medical conditions that a patient may have, such as asthma or diabetes, throughout the surgery. If a problem arises during the medical procedure, the anesthesiologist will oversee the management of this as well.
Once the surgery is complete, the anesthesiologist will continue to oversee the recovery of the patient immediately following the procedure. The physician will monitor a patient’s recovery from the anesthetic effects and inform the medical team when a patient is able to go home or be moved within the hospital. They may also help to create a plan to manage a patient’s pain once they are discharged.
While many anesthesiologists work in a surgical setting, some choose to specialize in the treatment and management of chronic pain. In this case, an anesthesiologist may treat patients suffering from fibromyalgia, migraines or other chronic conditions that cause pain to a person on a regular basis.
Read more: Learn About Being an Anesthesiologist
The average salary of an anesthesiologist
The average salary of an anesthesiologist in the United States is $343,412 per year. Several factors can affect an anesthesiologist’s salary, including geographic location, training, experience and place of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, anesthesiologists have one of the highest-paying occupations in the nation.
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How to become an anesthesiologist
There are several steps that a person must take to become an anesthesiologist. To become an anesthesiologist you typically need to:
Get a bachelor’s degree.
Study and pass the MCAT.
Graduate from medical school.
Take and pass the USMLE.
Complete a residency program.
Become state licensed.
Get board certified.
1. Get a bachelor’s degree
Aspiring anesthesiologists must first obtain a bachelor’s degree before they can begin medical training. Most individuals choose to get a bachelor’s degree in the field of biology, natural sciences or a related concentration. In order to be a successful medical school candidate, students must perform exceptionally well in undergraduate school. The American Medical Association (AMA) states that students with a GPA that range from 3.5 to 4.0 will be the most likely to be accepted into medical school programs.
2. Study and pass the MCAT
Students typically begin studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before graduating from an undergrad program. This test is required to be admitted to medical school. Individuals must receive a passing score in all areas of the MCAT, with higher scores giving students a better chance of getting into more medical schools.
3. Graduate from medical school
Aspiring anesthesiologists must complete a four-year medical school program. This program covers the major areas of medicine and prepares students for a residency and career in anesthetics.
4. Take and pass the USMLE
While in medical school, students should begin preparing to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This exam is required by all states to obtain medical licensure. Students can take the first two parts of this exam while still in medical school but must complete the third portion of the USMLE after obtaining their M.D. degree.
5. Complete a residency program
Once students have completed their medical school program, they will then spend another four years completing a medical residency program. The first year of the residency will be focused on a variety of hospital-based rotations while the last three years will be specific to anesthesia training. Students can choose from a number of subspecialties to participate in when completing their residency program.
6. Become state-licensed
Once aspiring anesthesiologists have completed the residency program, they can then apply to become licensed in the state where they will practice. Licensure is given through the state medical board and is only awarded to individuals who have completed all of the above steps.
7. Get board certified
While voluntary, many anesthesiologists choose to become board certified to improve their chances of employment. Board certification is offered through both the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA). Anesthesiologists must apply and take an exam to become board certified.