Anesthesiologist - How to Become an Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologist

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Anesthesiologist Job Description

 

Anesthesiologists are an important part of the surgical team. Without them, surgeries would be very interesting--and a lot more painful.  One of the biggest duties of an anesthesiologist is to administer anesthetics to people undergoing surgery.

It requires great knowledge and experience to deliver local or general anesthesia, and the anesthesiologist takes on great responsibility to ensure their tasks are done to the best of their ability. Anesthesiologists basically inject a mix of medicines into a patient which slows down the body system to a near-death level and blocks the pain signals from the brain.

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Responsibilities

 

Becoming an anesthesiologist involves a ton of practice and schooling. You can either become a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) to be an anesthesiologist. The two paths have different responsibilities;  a M.D. can administer anesthetic during operations while D.O.s specialize in holistic care and preventative medicine. 

An anesthesiologist with a M.D. is mostly involved in various surgical treatments. Their responsibilities include:

  • Making assessments of person’s response to an anesthetic. They must study a person's medical history and identify any allergies or intolerances to certain medications or chemicals. 

  • Monitoring patient’s condition during the operation. They must check vital signs and make sure the patient does well during and after anesthesia. 

  • Taking care of a patient during the post-surgery process.

An anesthesiologist with D.O. qualification involves quite different duties. Their responsibilities are related to the work outside the operating room, and include:

  • Taking care of the patients in the Intensive Care Unit

  • Treating patients with severe chronic diseases

  • Being present during labor and delivery

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Skills

 

Communication

Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about any issues that arise during surgery and be able to correspond with surgeons and doctors to ensure patient safety.

Assessing

Assesssing patient to make sure they are responding well to anesthesia and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Operation Monitoring

Must be able to monitor gauges, dials, and other indicators to make sure machinery is working properly to ensure patient safety.

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Working Conditions 

 

The majority of anesthesiologists work in hospitals and outpatient surgical centers. Other opportunities may exist in private and group practices, urgent care centers, academic medical centers, and the military. As with most other physicians, anesthesiologists work long and hectic hours, with nearly one third working 60 hours a week or more.

They work in environments that can see trauma patients, critical care, and other uneasy situations. It is a demanding job with a lot on the line. Your work areas will mostly be filled with florescent lighting, cold floors, and sanitized medical equipment. You must stand for long hours and be able to fill demand as it arises. 

 


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How to Become an Anesthesiologist:

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

To become an anesthesiologist, you must first earn a bachelor's degree. You need to take a premed program course in college because you must go to medical school.

A course load for premed might look like the following: 

 

Grade Level

Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • General Chemistry I & Lab

  • General Chemistry II & Lab

  • Biology & Lab

  • Calculus I

  • English 101

  • English 102

  • Humanities Requirement

  • Physics I & Lab

  • Physics II & Lab

Sophomore Year

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab

  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab

  • Fundamentals of Microbiology & Lab

  • Genetics

  • Physiology 

  • Humanities Requirement

  • Electives

Junior Year

 

  • Cell Structure & Function

  • General Virology & Lab

  • Microbial Genetics & Lab

  • Biochemistry I

  • Biochemistry II

  • Physics

  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Upper Level Biology

  • Upper Level Chemistry

  • Upper Level Physics

  • Upper Level Psychology

  • Upper Level Kinesiology 

  • Electives

 

Be sure to keep your grades high, as medical school admissions are very competitive you will need at least a 3.0. You need to start prepping for the MCAT as well, because you need to take it to advance.

 

2. Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

 

To be admitted into medical school, candidates must first take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, a 7.5 hour, standardized, multiple choice exam used to assess the applicant's knowledge of science, reasoning, communication, and writing skills. 

 

The MCAT is divided into four sections:

 

Section/Category

 Section Breakdown

Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry

Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics

Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests introductory psychology, sociology, and biology

Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills

  • 53 multiple-choice questions

  • 90 minutes

  • Tests reading comprehension, humanities, and social sciences

 

You can find study materials, MCAT registration, and your test scores on the AAMC website here.

 

3. Earn a Medical Degree (4 Years)

 

You have two program choices in medical school to become an anesthesiologist: a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program. Each degree focuses on the same methods of treatment, but a DO degree also focuses on osteopathic manipulative medicine. Whichever path you choose, you are facing 4-5 years in medical school.

Your first couple of years will focus on the following:

  • Basic pathology

  • Anatomy

  • Biology

  • Other life sciences

In the second half of the program, you will work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to advance your skills and focus in on anesthesia. You will also be taught to record medical histories, examine patients and diagnose illnesses and other necessary things for becoming an anesthesiologist.

 

4. Complete a Residency Program (4 Years)

 

After medical school, you have to complete an accredited residency. The program is focused on giving students hands-on experience in a clinical setting. During this time, you will be supervised by other healthcare professionals and get hands on training to build upon your skills and confidence, to allow you independent practice. During your residency, you can expect to work from two-to-three years in a clinical or hospital setting. It's here you can really hone in on your skills and build upon your knowledge. 

 

5. Take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

 

In order to practice medicine, aspiring geriatricians must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This exam is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

The exam consists of three steps:

Step & Purpose

Format & Other Info

Step 1

Assesses the ability to apply scientific concepts, basic to practicing medicine, emphasizing mechanisms underlying health, disease, and therapy.

  • 310 multiple-choice questions

  • Divided into 7 60-minute blocks

  • Administered via computer

  • One day session

Step 2

Divided into 2 sub-steps: clinical knowledge (CK) & clinical skills (CS).

 The clinical knowledge section assesses the ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and clinical science to patient care.

The clinical skills section assesses the ability to gather information from patients, perform physical exams, and communicate findings with colleagues.

  • Clinical Knowledge

    • 350 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 8 60-minute blocks

    • One day session

  • Clinical Skills

    • 12 patient cases

    • 15 minutes per patient case 

    • 10 minutes to record each patient note (PN)

    • Administered at 6 test centers in the US: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, & Philadelphia.

    • One day session

Step 3

Divided into 2 sub-steps: Foundations of Independent Practice(FIP) & Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM)

 Foundations of Independent Practice assesses the knowledge and principles essential for effective health care.

Advanced Clinical Medicine assesses the ability to apply knowledge of health and disease to the context of patient management and an evolving disease.

  • Foundations of Independent Practice

    • 260 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 6 60-minute blocks, each w/ 44 questions

    • One day session

  • Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM)

    • 200 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 6 45-minute blocks, each with 33 questions

    • 13 computer-based case simulations, each allotted 10 or 20 minutes

    • One day session

 

If you graduate from a DO program, you can take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA)

 

5. Earn the Required Certification

 

Once you get your medical license, you can take the the examination for board certification through the American Board of Anesthesiology. The ABA is also the issuing body for certifications in subspecialties and the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology Program (MOCA).

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.01.2014
The University of Iowa, Department of Anesthesia is actively recruiting faculty for its rapidly growing Pediatric Anesthesia group.
03.01.2016
The Department of Anesthesia is seeking Anesthesiologists with interest and expertise in several important clinical areas including: ambulatory, cardiovascular/thoracic, obstetrical, neurosurgical, pediatric, regional and/or transplant anesthesia.
11.09.2016
Internal job applications/transfer requests must be completed through the Ascension Health Associate Portal in order to be processed. Assistance for the disabled If you have a disability and/or require assistance completing the online...
01.18.2017
Department: Anesthesiology and Perioperative MedicineA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, is seeking highly qualified anesthesiologists interested in joining the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative...
12.16.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
12.30.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
12.16.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
12.05.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
11.22.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
11.22.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
11.03.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
11.03.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
11.03.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
11.03.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
11.03.2016
Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  1. PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The University of Iowa, Department of Anesthesia is actively recruiting faculty for its rapidly growing Pediatric Anesthesia group.
  2. STAFF ANESTHESIOLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The Department of Anesthesia is seeking Anesthesiologists with interest and expertise in several important clinical areas including: ambulatory, cardiovascular/thoracic, obstetrical, neurosurgical, pediatric, regional and/or transplant anesthesia.
  3. Anesthesiologist Assistant Tulsa, OK St. John Health System
    Internal job applications/transfer requests must be completed through the Ascension Health Associate Portal in order to be processed. Assistance for the disabled If you have a disability and/or require assistance completing the online...
  4. Anesthesiologist Job Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic - Rochester
    Department: Anesthesiology and Perioperative MedicineA Life-Changing CareerResponsibilities: The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, is seeking highly qualified anesthesiologists interested in joining the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative...
  5. Surgical Technologist - Florida Surgical Center - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  6. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room South - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  7. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room South - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  8. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room South - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  9. Surgical Technologist Specialist - Operating Room South - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
  10. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  11. Surgical Technologist Specialist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
  12. Surgical Technologist Specialist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
  13. Surgical Technologist Specialist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist specialist functions as an instrument assistant and may...
  14. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...
  15. Surgical Technologist - Operating Room North - Gainesville Gainesville, FL UF Health Shands Hospital
    Assist as a member of the surgical team who works with the surgeon, registered nurse, and anesthesiologist delivering direct patient care before, during and after surgery. The technologist functions as an instrument assistant and may also...