The anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in the care of their patients before, during, and after surgery with preparation and evaluation. They plan the anesthetic for the patient and monitor their blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and level of consciousness. To achieve a safe, painless surgery, the anesthesiologist adjusts the anesthetic plan, medications, fluids, and other parameters. They care for critically ill patients and are specialists in both acute and chronic pain.
To become an anesthesiologist, one needs 4 years of college to earn an undergraduate degree, 4 years of medical school to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree, 4 years in an accredited Anesthesia Residency Program, and 1-2 years in a subspecialty of anesthesia such as Obstetrical Anesthesia, Cardiac Anesthesia, Pediatric Anesthesia, or Pain Management. Premedical students must complete undergraduate work in biology, physics, English, mathematics, and inorganic/organic chemistry. The skills anesthesiologists must acquire are active listening skills, good judgment, critical thinking skills, monitoring skills, and good communication.
The working conditions of anesthesiologists may take a while to adjust to. On the average, they put up with very irregular hours and they can work 60 or more hours a week. The job is very pressuring and the anesthesiologist must posses a strong emotional stability. They must be able to handle high amounts of stress and react quickly and accurately under pressure. They can work in many different departments of the hospital, including the emergency room, labor and delivery, intensive care, and surgery.
With the demanding working conditions comes a great salary. The anesthesiologist has one of the top most paid occupations with a residency salary ranging from $34,100 to about $42,100 and after residency the salary increases to $126,000 to about $220,000. Along with the high salary comes great benefits such as paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans.
The health care field in currently experiencing a shortage in qualified anesthesiologists. The need for anesthesiologists continues to be steady as the number of surgeries performed in hospitals remains steady.
With the overwhelming responsibilities of anesthesiologists, some people choose to become nurse anesthesiologists. They work about 36 hours a week and require less skills than anesthesiologists. They receive the same benefits yet only earn about $22,000 to $42,000 a year.