Anesthesiology is the name given to the branch of medicine that focuses on the care of patients. This not only applies to care during surgery but also before and after. An anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in this field. If this is an area of interest for you, there are many things to research before making a commitment to this sector.
There are not only academically-oriented hard skills required in order to become an anesthesiologist but soft skills as well. This is an industry that involves a lot of direct communication with patients, some of whom might be frightened or concerned. For this reason, compassion and a good bedside manner are very important. They also must act as the liaison between surgeons, other office staff, and the patient, which means communication skills are key. Lastly, there are many patients who require longstanding periods of care and treatment and this requires endless patience.
There is also a high level of technical skill involved because attention to detail is vital when administering medication and monitoring a patient’s progress during a procedure. Dexterity is another ability needed in order to administer epidurals and work with small, sharp implements. If an anesthesiologist is managing his own practice, there are also leadership and organizational skills required. You might also be on your feet for long periods of time, which requires stamina, and physical strength is necessary when lifting or moving patients. Mentally, you also need to be able to think on your feet regarding sudden decisions about symptoms and treatments. This includes before, during, and after surgery is performed.
If the topic of salary is an issue, the average pay in the United States for an anesthesiologist is around $400,000. There is an increased need for this type of position in more rural areas, so remuneration might be even higher. There’s a reason or this elevated compensation, however. In order to become a certified anesthesiologist, a person has to go through rigorous training and years of schooling. After getting an undergraduate degree, a candidate must then continue on to earn a doctorate from a recognized medical school. Competition for acceptance to these schools is very high and it involves impressive test scores, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation. This is followed by a 3-4 year internship.