The Scoop on Anesthesiologists

Usually when we hear Anesthesiologist we think..."Hey, that's the person that knocks you out before surgery!"

Well, we know that laughing gas is fun, but Anesthesiology is no laughing matter. Anesthesiologists are needed in Doctor's Offices, Hospitals, Health Clinics, and anywhere where patients are in pain. Given the 5% of active physicians in the U.S. in 2005 were anesthesiologists I would say that the Specialty is needed and will be growing. Because this is a highly specialized field the job growth will be rising with growth in the population because more people means more medical procedures means more need for pain management.

What in the World Does a Anesthesiologist Do?

If you were working as an Anesthesiologist you would be working in the operating room to manage pain and or full anesthesia to a patient who needed to be completely knocked out for a surgery. If you were involved in very long procedures you would be the Doctor who didn't get a break because your whole entire job is to make sure the patient isn't feeling pain and stays stable and asleep for the operation.

Outside the "OR" Anesthesiologists offer pain care to patients who might in the Intensive Care Unit or other specialized parts of the hospital. Anesthesiologists also give Epidurals to pregnant women who are delivering babies and prescribe pain care regimens to patients who suffer from chronic bouts with pain. If you were doing this sort of work you would counseled often on how to relieve the pain of other Doctor's patients and how best to care for them while they are in pain.

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

Schooling for Anesthesiology is similar to that of other Doctors. After you have completed a Bachelor's Degree (and in some cases a Master's Degree, typically in some sort of science) you can gain admission to one of the 146 Medical Schools in the U.S. The general abundance of Medical Schools means that you might have a pretty good chance of going to Medical School near or at home (where traveling away to school may not be an option for some.) After completing 4 years of Medical School you either become an M.D. or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). You will be required to get your license to practice medicine from the State Medical Board (which will require continuing education to renew, and then when you choose the specialty of Anesthesiology you will be required to complete a 3-7 year internship or apprenticeship after which you may have to get another license from the State Medical Board in your specialty.

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

Anesthesiologists do not generally go into private practice because the field is so specialized. If you wanted to do this kind of work you would have to think of yourself as more of a "mercenary" who goes around taking referrals and consultations all the time, having lots of patients, but really those patients are someone else's and you're simply helping them out.

Most Anesthesiologists work at Hospitals or Health Clinics but other might work in a Doctor's Office where outpatient surgery is performed or at a nursing home where patients might have chronic pain.

Advancement in the field is typically done through research and teaching. These sorts of endeavors suit well those who are retired or nearing retirement as your day-to-day work is quite time-consuming.

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Anesthesiologists Overview

Anesthesiologist Salary:$309,338
Job Prospects:A-
Education after high school:12 years
# Employed in US:34,230
% Who work Part Time:8%
Physical Difficulty:+ +
Intellectual Difficulty:+ +
Emotional Difficulty:+

The Pros of being an Anesthesiologist

  • You get to help people who are in pain
  • You get a chance to work with all kinds of Doctors and patients
  • You don't have to have the money to open your own practice, but you can still be in business for yourself
  • You can set your own hours if you are working independently

The Cons of being an Anesthesiologist

  • There are 8 years of schooling to complete after High School
  • Add to that a 3-7 year internship
  • Your license requires continuing education to renew and you may have to have more than one license depending on your specialty
  • It may be hard to work with those who are in constant pain (because no one likes to see others in pain)