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Becoming an Anesthesiologist Doctor

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An anesthesiologist doctor specializes in the medicines that lead to a total or partial loss of sensation in a patient. Anesthesiologists both in surgical care, from the pre-operative period, through surgery and to the post-operative period, as well as the management of pain caused by a condition or injury or due to the aftermath of surgery.

Education Required for an Anesthesiologist Doctor

Someone interested in becoming an anesthesiologist doctor would focus on science and math courses in college and obtain a 4-year degree before applying to medical school. After completing medical school, the prospective anesthesiologist would move on to a 4- to 5-year residency that would lead to a certification in anesthesiology. It is possible to study further in the field to gain certification in a subspecialty such as hospice and palliative medicine or critical care medicine, or to achieve fellowship status.

Three Main Types of Anesthesia Used by an Anesthesiologist Doctor

Much of the postgraduate training for an anesthesiologist doctor focuses on various anesthetic agents, their properties and combinations and the effective use of each. This knowledge is vital for the application of anesthetics in 3 main ways:

  • Local anesthesia - This limits a patient's sensation in a small body region. An example is the use of local anesthesia to stitch up an arm wound.
  • Regional anesthesia - This limits feeling in a larger area of the body. An example is an epidural administered to facilitate child birth.
  • General anesthesia - This is the type of anesthesia most people think of and it is used to render the patient unconscious and is applied in a variety of different ways to facilitate surgery or some complicated medical procedures.

Salary, Outlook for the Anesthesiologist Doctor

Anesthesiologists are on the upper end of physicians when it comes to median salary. According to the annual American Medical Group Association salary survey in 2009, the median salary was anesthesiologists was $336,640. That is significantly higher than primary care physicians, but trails many surgical specialists.

The job outlook for the anesthesiologist doctor is excellent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2009, about 6 percent of all practicing physicians in the country - which totals nearly 700,000 - were anesthesiologists. However, the American Society of Anesthesiologists predicts that up to 15 percent of all openings for an anesthesiologist doctor may not be filled because of a shortage of anesthesiologists. The ASA says a large number of retiring anesthesiologists in the next 10 years will create the shortage.

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