What is an anesthesiologist?
As you might guess, this is a job that you most probably encountered during your lifetime. The anesthesiologist is the medical expert who can help you in applying anesthesia on different parts of your body and he is also the expert knowledgeable in the area of perioperative medicine.
Anesthesia is used in different medical interventions, such as: dental interventions, surgery and others. Obviously, this medically trained professional must know about your allergies, to make sure that certain anesthetic substances wouldn’t cause you some negative side effects. Thus, you can’t be an anesthesiologist without training!
Job description of anesthesiologists
The job description of the actual role of anesthesiologists differs from region to region, across the world. For instance, in the UK, they call some of the expert physicians anaesthetists and these are the medically trained experts who can apply anesthesia. Generally, in the UK and in several countries all across Europe, there are anaesthesia techs, who will help and assist the physicians who are responsible with the actual duty of applying anesthesia. This working relationship and structure is almost identical to the roles of dentists in comparison with dental assistants.
However, contrary to the European situation, in the United States of America, these professionals aren’t necessarily physicians or they aren’t at all physicians. The US anesthesiologists have a good training background, because they need to become resident physicians in anesthesiology before being able to practice. On the other hand, if one is interested in anesthesia and isn’t a physician, as mentioned earlier, it is possible. These people, these medical experts are referred to as anesthetists.
In most cases, you will be dealing with patients who require surgery. Obviously, this isn’t necessarily the case with dental anesthesiologists, but it is the case if you work in the emergency service or in any private or state hospital. You will witness all kinds of patients and some of them will also have a lot of fear or other bad moods. While these things are real, you need to have a strong will and character, not taking these aspects into consideration. You will always have to work with surgeons, finding out the details about the surgery, which is scheduled.
Obviously, the type and level of anesthesia depends on the type of the surgery. Some cases demand general anesthesia, while other cases will work just fine with local anesthesia. Also, the other health issues of your patients influence a lot of things. For instance, if the patient has a heart condition, previous strokes or diabetes, then extra precaution is needed. Sometimes, you will have to trust the surgeon and take risk in giving the anesthesia and hoping for the best (this is obviously the case in situations when a quick decision can save a life). These quick situations and solutions that are demanded must not freak you out and you need to remain emotionally stable.
This job of being an anesthesiologist will always ask you to work in the emergency service. Whether you like it or not, you will get there, because that is where a lot of anesthesia is often needed. Speaking in US terms, being an anesthesiologist instead of being an anesthetist is a lot of advantage. The reason for this is because being an anesthesiologist means that you also have the medical qualifications of a physician, and the things you have learned while learning those parts will help you in all of what follows next, from the first situation to the last, enabling you to easily make up your mind when a more difficult medical case is encountered with any of your patients.
You will also be responsible with managing the patient’s airway, making sure that he/she gets enough air, even after the surgery had started. If anesthesia is incorrectly applied or complications come, its effects might suddenly wear off, in the middle of a complex surgery. You must be highly prepared for such occurrences, because they can come to you at any time. Ideally, before this happens, you will make the necessary decisions and prevent it from happening. This is done by correctly monitoring your patient during the surgery and recognizing the signals the body sends before having the anesthetic effects worn off.
In some parts of the US, there are other specialists called CRNAs or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesists. These experts are recognized and accepted nationwide in the United States! Since there is an increasing need and demand for anesthesiologists in the past couple of years, there are better chances for everyone to become a professional anesthesiologist. As soon as you decide to pursue such a career, you can know that you are on a good track and you will succeed.
How to become an anesthesiologist?
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The anesthesiologist training varies from country to country. We can only talk about any further details if we consider the territories as well.
The United States
As you probably know, not everyone who provides anesthesia is called an anesthesiologist. However, these experts are trained under strict and demanding circumstances. This serves to their benefit and the benefit of patients as well, since the amount of training invested in an anesthesiologist proves its real value when the professional gets to the point of treating his patients.
Anesthesiologists, also speaking of the current situation in the United States, have a 4-year long program of residency, during which they are trained for all that is to follow once they begin practicing. This residency is broken into two main parts, the first being an internship and the second being for training only. Internship lasts for 12 months, while the remaining years will encompass all the training. This training also means exams, thus they need to prepare a lot and they must learn the depths of their profession.
During the training, it is important to learn about evaluating the health state of the patient before a surgery. This is essential and of life-saving importance and significance. Then, the enrolled students will know about how to decide certain things based on the patients diseases he had before the actual medical intervention. It is also essential to know that pain might come in certain moments during any operation, thus the anesthesiologist must be with his eyes on the patient to observe these occurrences in time, to allow him to take the necessary measures. Obviously, all levels of pain must be managed correctly, since the patients aren’t meant to suffer there. All of these aspects are part of the anesthesiologist residency program, making sure that the practicing professionals can handle every situation once they are in place.
Monitoring the patient’s vital signs is also needed, because during a surgery or other intervention, the heart might have palpitations and many other such situations can occur.
Then, after the surgery, the recovery of the patient and pain reduction is also important and all of these fall under the expertise of the anesthesiologist.
Work Environment and Schedule
There are several things that will always be parts of the work environment:
- Special medical clothes / uniforms are needed
- You won’t work alone, because you will have medical assistants, surgeons or other medical experts to work with.
- Negative moods, stress and unpleasant sights are all a part of routine for an anesthesiologist.
- You need to socialize with the patient to make him feel comfortable, but you also need to comfort the patient’s relatives and friends
- You will have to protect yourself against radiation, which might come on a daily basis.
- You will be physically close to your patients, sometimes only 1 inch or less away.
- You might have a team under you and you are always in charge and responsible for their mistakes.
- You can be called any time during a day or during the night
- You will generally work above the amount of a weekly duration of 40 hours
The schedule depends on many things, mostly on the situations and on the workplace. For example, you can begin the day at 6 AM or 6:20 AM and then end by 6 or 7 PM. However, it might also occur that you are off by 3 PM or that you only stay until noon time.
If the schedule says that you are on duty for the day, it means your shift is an entire 24-hour shift. Then, normally, you have the following 24 hours free. Also, you might be working during any holiday. Being on the duty is highly important for an anesthesiologist.
If you want to ask me to tell you if it’s worth it or not, all I can say before getting with the details to you is that it’s worth it. For now, in April 2014, the average anesthesiologist salary in all regions of the United States goes around $350.000. Yes, you have clearly seen that the payment amount is more than simply motivating.
The above statistics are pretty accurate, as a lot of information was gathered before these figures were calculated. As an anesthesiologist, you will have to pay attention to details and be very good with public relations. The reason this is important is because you will deal with all types of patients during your career. While some patients are easy to handle, others will just be a pain. And, as you know, your salary might get a raise if your supervisors observe how you can handle patients correctly.
As a motivation, for some anesthesiologists with more experience and in better areas of the United States, the salary can go above the amount of $425.000 per year. Just think about this for a minute! Wouldn’t that amount fit your wallet perfectly? To earn that, you will need perseverance.
Currently, the healthcare system is being consolidated. This means that for all anesthesiologists who are currently looking for jobs, it’s amazing news. It’s a future that stands in front of you unavoidably. This future will not only bring the benefits of the anesthesiologist salary, but it will also bring you the benefits of being stable in your life and career. Having something like this for certain, especially now in April of 2014, is more than something to hold on to.
As an anesthesiologist, among many things, if you want to be in a position to demand a higher salary, I can for instance recommend you to gather some patient data and any other relevant data. Why do you need that data? It’s simple: when everyone claims that they deserve more, you will also have solid arguments on why you, as an anesthesiologist, deserve more as a compensation for your position. Since we live in an era when information is going up and down on every channel, it’s not a too hard thing to gather some of it for reference.
If you want to show your supervisors that you are not just an ordinary anesthesiologist to get a salary of $250.000 per year (which is among the lowest salaries nationwide, in the US), you can change the stuff you work with. You see, the anesthetic drugs and all accessories are manufactured in at least a dozen different places. Obviously, different manufacturers demand different prices and they offer different levels of quality. If you take a couple of days or weeks (depends on how much it takes you), you can research on the drugs and accessories you use, targeting to find the cheapest ones, which still have the high quality to your standards and the standards of the institution you belong to. This way, your supervisor will notice that you actually save the institution’s money and it’s easier to get a higher salary or surprise compensation or things like that. Amazing enough, isn’t it?
Other than the things mentioned before, there are a lot of challenges and other unexpected situations that might occur in the life and career of an anesthesiologist. For the sake of a good anesthesiologist salary, you will have to deal with the following issues:
- Make sure you are hired in a prosperous area.
- Make sure that the institution you have chosen is a well-known one, to be a good point for your CV later (if needed)
- If you settle for the same hospital (or other institution), you should make sure that as you work more and more, your salary grows accordingly. If you sense that you have excelled in performance and the salary is the same or lower, you might consider quitting and being hired at another medical institution.
- Make sure you have all the necessary training. If there are extra levels of training, you could consider investing time and money into those. After all, it’s for your proof and looks great in an anesthesiologist CV.
Anesthesiologist salary in Canada, Australia and UK
For people in Canada, the average per year goes between 96.000 CAD and 170.000 CAD. This is not the same amount as it is in the US, but remember that different countries/areas have different salaries and generally, the anesthesiologist salary is enough if you live in almost any country from these. The average (Canada nationwide) will be around 136.500 CAD per year.
As far as Australia goes, salaries for anesthesiologists range from AU$65.000 to AU$310.000. These values are very similar to the US anesthesiologist salary values. The average is around AU$150.000, per year.
In the UK, salaries are different. We can consider them from a UK nationwide average anesthesiologist salary of £17.000 to £236.000. The UK situation and salary is mainly experience based, so the more the experience, the higher the salary is. While the starting salary might seem low, it quickly raises to amazing values.
Conclusion on anesthesiology salary
As you have seen, the anesthesiologist salary depends on a couple of factors. First of all, it depends on which country you stay in and then it depends on the experience, area, institution you belong to and so on. Obviously, certification will always be needed.
What is good about the anesthesiologist salary is that it will always be good and this job is one of the future! This is a job for the next 1-2 or even more decades – and this is something good to know, since nowadays it’s quite hard to get some stability in work.