How To Become An Anaesthesiologist In 2021: Comprehensive Guidelines

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Doctors have been a very important part of our lives. If you want to know just how important they are, just think about all the times you or your family and friends have gone to a doctor to get treated for some injury or some disease and came back good as new.

These doctors, who are with us and help us in our lowest moments, often get sidelined and are very underappreciated. And more often than not, the other professionals working with and around the main doctors go unnoticed as well. However, we must remember to thank them as well because everyone there is doing God’s service. There are very few people who asks questions like how to become an anaesthesiologist. 

Have you ever wondered how to become an anaesthesiologist? In this article, we are going to talk about Anaesthesiologists, someone who is there on the sidelines, helping the doctor and you, by making you not feel any kind of pain or uneasiness due to any of the procedures being carried out. We will be discussing the topic, how to become an anaesthesiologist?

Before we dive into the career specifics and how to become an anaesthesiologist, you must first understand what is anesthesia and what an anaesthesiologist does so that you understand everything about the profession before pursuing a career in it. However, you can skip to the later part of the article to the main topic on how to become an anaesthesiologist. Let’s begin! 

What is Anaesthesia? | How To Become An Anaesthesiologist? 

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Anaesthesia is a state where you lose sensation or awareness for a short interval of time, which is done to you so that some medical procedures can be carried out safely and without you having to undergo any discomfort or pain.

When a person undergoes anaesthesia, it is termed as the person being anaesthetized. This can be partial or full paralysis, amnesia, analgesia, or just unconsciousness as well. It is done through the injection of drugs or giving the patient some breathing gas. These drugs help the patient be insensitive to pain and their body temperature drops down as well.

What Are Anaesthesiologists And What Do They Do? | How To Become An Anaesthesiologist?

A doctor that administers the anaesthesia drugs to the patient before surgery or something equally complex so that the patient goes through everything smoothly is called an anaesthesiologist. And despite the common belief, they play a far bigger role than just that.

Anaesthesiologists help carry out a number of other medical procedures that contain numerous tests in emergency scenarios and they also provide advice when it comes to managing pain. They work in over every 9 out of 10 surgical operations carried out in the whole of the US and that number reaches over 40 million.

Amongst all the work that these Anaesthesiologists do, taking care of all the patients undergoing treatment or supervising the CRN anesthetists and the assistants is also included. Nearly 4-5 years ago, more than thirty thousand Anaesthesiologists got jobs in the United States in just one year and that is not including the Anaesthesiologists that employed themselves.

So it should be clear that a career in this field has a bright future and is guaranteed to give you a lot of benefits, be it the money or the respect that you will get from the public. So, before diving into the topic of how to become an anaesthesiologist, let us find out what the job of an anaesthesiologist includes. 

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Providing relief from pain during surgical operations

The job of an anaesthesiologist does not just include injecting drugs into the patient during the operations. Their work starts a lot before the patient even enters the operation theatre. Prior to an operation being conducted, a patient has to go to the anaesthesiologist.

When a patient goes to the Anaesthesiologists, what they have to do is evaluate the patient. The anaesthesiologist will make planning about how the operation is going to be done. They are going to keep track of all the things that a patient is going to need.

After that comes the most noticeable part of the job where the anaesthesiologist looks over everything being done to the patient and administers them with the anaesthetic drug which keeps the patient from being conscious, feeling pain, or experiencing whatever is happening, based on what the requirement for the surgery is.

Despite the common belief that it is the anaesthesiologist who gives the drugs to the patient, it is the assistant anaesthesiologist or the CRNA who administers the drug to the patient and the head anaesthesiologist merely supervises everything. If the assistant or the CRNA is unavailable, then the job falls into the hands of the main Anaesthesiologists. 

It is not really necessary for the anaesthesiologist to supervise the work of a CRNA either, the CRNA can carry out their work without being under the supervision of an anaesthesiologist too.

Some of their other minor jobs include:

  • Treating patients with minor issues.
  • Being able to prescribe medicines and rehabilitation services to the patient.
  • As mentioned before, being able to give relief from pain to the patients.
  • Being able to counsel and advise the patients and their families.
  • Being able to coordinate with other professional people in the field
  • They should also be able to advise anyone who is taking care of the patient about the proper ways of taking care.
how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Let us discuss the types of pain reliefs that an anaesthetic offers the patient during surgery based on what is being administered to the patient.

  • General Anaesthesia is something that when given to the patient, the patient becomes unconscious during the whole of the operation. 
  • Sedation is another type of anaesthesia administered to the patient,  which basically is an intravenous drug that does the work of calming a patient down or makes them unable to feel to be aware of whatever is going on around them or even on them. 
  • The third type of anaesthesia is regional anaesthesia which can also be called a local anaesthetic and it is injected close to the nerves around the particular part of the body where the operation is being conducted. What this does is block all the nerves so that the patient does not have to feel anything that is being done around that part.

Why Is An Anaesthesiologist Important? 

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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When surgery is being carried out, it is the job of the surgeon to do everything properly but it is the anaesthesiologist that has to pay attention to the condition of the patient and make sure that everything is going according to the predetermined plan.

Their precise work is to see if the condition of the patient is steady or not, it should in no circumstance deteriorate at all. That must ensure the optimum method of treating the organs and provide suitable medication for whatever is required. The precise things that anaesthesiologist monitors are the blood pressure of the patient, their breathing and heart rate rhythm, body temperature, fluid balance, etc.

 Apart from all that, the anaesthesiologist has to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain or discomfort at any given time during the surgery. The job of the anaesthesiologist does not end with a surgery ending, it goes beyond that as well. They are held responsible for the care of the patients even after the surgeries are finished.

They make sure that the drug leaves the body of the patient properly and the health of the patient slowly becomes optimum. They have to evaluate and record the health of the patient. There are people working under them during this time as well.

Now that we have discussed what is anaesthesia, what are Anaesthesiologists, and what they do, let us finally get to the topic of how to become an anaesthesiologist.

How To Become An anaesthesiologist?

Well, the answer to the question how to become an anaesthesiologist is that becoming one is no easy task, it requires a lot of will and determination, and love for the job. You must want to become an anaesthesiologist and serve the public by helping save lives. If you can do that, then you will become a very good anaesthesiologist. Let us discuss how to become an anaesthesiologist.

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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To know how to become an anaesthesiologist, follow these steps:

Get your bachelor’s degree

The first step on how to become an anaesthesiologist is to get a bachelor’s degree. This degree must be in the field of Biology, natural science, or something that is similar to that. The students should have performed really well in their undergraduate school if they want to pursue this career.

According to the AMA, the students that have a GPA above 3.5 would have the best opportunity of getting admission into a school that has a good medical program. Students with a GPA of more than 3.5 show that they are ready to dedicate themselves to studies and that they will have a comparatively easier time with the next steps of how to become an anaesthesiologist.

Clearing the Medical College Admission Test

The next step in this process is to study for the MCAT. The students who want to get admission to the best medical colleges usually start their preparation for the MCAT exam even before they pass an undergraduate school.

The better they study and the knowledge that they acquire, the better their chances will be of getting precedence over other students in the college of their choice. The students appearing for the MCAT have to get passing marks in all the fields.

The higher the students’ score, the better their hopes of getting admission to the medical school of their choice will be. They also have to keep in mind the competition out there regarding admissions.

Get Through Medical College

The next step on how to become an anaesthesiologist is to obviously pass and graduate from the medical school that you got admission into. The medical school program lasts for the duration of four years in total.

The studies during this course time include essential parts of the medical field and it also helps the students in preparing for their career ahead in anesthetics and in residency as well. It is important that the students remember what they learn in their medical schools all their life because that is what is going to benefit them in difficult situations as well as with the next steps on how to become an anaesthesiologist.

Clear The United States Medical Licensing Examination

In the next step on how to become an anaesthesiologist, like before, when students had to start preparing for the MCAT exam even before passing out from their undergraduate schools, the students that are still in medical school should start their preparations for the USMLE exams.

If you want to get a license to practice medicine, it is a must that you pass this exam. This is a mandatory requirement in all of the 50 states. What is special about this exam is that it happens in parts. And the medical students are eligible to take these exams’ first two parts while they are still studying in medical school.

Besides that, it is essential and even mandatory that the students pass the third part of this exam when they get their M.D. degree and then follow the next steps on how to become an anaesthesiologist.

Complete Residency Program 

After passing out from medical schools, it is required by the students that they spend another four years in the residency program. In this program, the students will gain some much-needed experience that will prove essential to them in the future when they are working in hospitals on actual patients.

The first year of the residency program focuses on various hospital-based rotations. Whereas the last three years focusing on Anaesthesia training particularly. During the course of these four years, the students can pick and choose various different specialties and study them when completing the residency program.

Acquire The License In Particular State

The next step on how to become an anaesthesiologist is that the students that were in the residency program have completed that particular program, and have to apply for getting the license to practice in a particular state where they are going to be practicing.

After getting approval from the states, these students are awarded their licenses by the state medical board.  The aspirants get the license if and only if they have completed all the above steps on how to become an anaesthesiologist.

Get Board Certification

This step on how to become an anaesthesiologist is not necessarily a mandatory step. If an aspirant wants, they can get board certification, otherwise, it is okay. But getting board certification would improve their chances of getting a job a lot.

Both the American Board of Physician Specialties and the American Board Of Anesthesiology offer certification to the aspirants. In order to get the certification from these boards, the aspirant has to give and pass another exam, and only then will they get the certificate they want. 

These were all the basic steps that are important when you want to become an anaesthesiologist.

The Time Period And Income | How To Become An Anaesthesiologist?

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Since we are talking about how to become an anaesthesiologist, let us even find out the duration for the same and what would be the income.

Usually, it takes someone approximately 12 years to become a full-fledged anaesthesiologist. These 12 years include four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and then four years in residency. Although there are some programs that do both undergraduate school and medical school in just 6 years.

Talking about the salary, an average anaesthesiologist earns more than $340,000 per year on average. There could be various things that determine how much salary an anaesthesiologist would get but that is basically around that number. This is considered one of the highest-paying occupations.

It should also be noted that an anaesthesiologist works up to 40 hours a week but some of them work on even 12 hours shifts. This might sound a bit bulky but it is not always the case and even then, saving the lives of the patients could not be less important than getting a few extra hours off work, right?

Now that we have seen how to become an anaesthesiologist let us discuss some other points that are essential in the career of an anaesthesiologist.

What Does An anaesthesiologist Do During Emergencies?

When an emergency situation happens, the role that the Anaesthesiologists play becomes very essential. They are responsible for checking over the patients and recording everything important that they can about the health of the patient.

They are responsible for making sure that no kind of infections or anything similarly disastrous happens to the patient while the emergency is going on. They keep track of all the vitals of a patient in any given situation.

If need be, they have the authority to administer medication to the patients on their own. And anything that they might deem necessary, they can do in these situations so that the patient’s health is taken care of. They do the most important work not letting the patient’s condition get any worse.

If the Anaesthesiologists want, they can get trained and qualified for situations where they can approve giving medication for pain relief or any kind of critical care to the patient as well. Knowing that might help you through the process of how to become an anaesthesiologist as they provide help in so many emergencies.

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Anaesthesiologist Specialization | How To Become An anaesthesiologist?

 If you want to know how to become an anaesthesiologist, it will be essential for you to know what all the anaesthesiologist will have to specialize in. The job of an anaesthesiologist is never easy and hence they need to be prepared for any situation that might come their way.

That is the reason why an anaesthesiologist must be qualified and have specializations in various essential parts of medical care, read ahead to find out what they are. The particular areas where an anaesthesiologist would have to specialize are:

  • Cardiac Anaesthesia is done when heart surgery is being carried out.
  • Pediatric Anaesthesia is essential when surgery or operation is being done on children.
  • Neuroanaesthesia becomes essential when surgeries related to the nervous system or the brain or the spinal cord are being done.
  • An anaesthesiologist has to learn anaesthesia use in Obstetrics for when pain relief has to be offered to the patient during labor and delivery of a child.
  • An anaesthesiologist has to be prepared and qualified for when they have to take care of a patient that is dying, that is, hospice, and their job also includes palliative care.
  • Anaesthesiologists can train further for one year for the minor specializations as well.

An anaesthesiologist has to specialize in a lot more than just the above-mentioned things to become an anaesthesiologist. Apart from gaining the knowledge of when to administer an anaesthetic, it is essential for an anaesthesiologist to know how to control pain.

If you become an anaesthesiologist, you should be able to deal with issues like minor or major headaches, herpes or diabetes, or even with pain in a patient’s chest or pain in the abdomen or pelvic pain, etc. 

how to become an anaesthesiologist
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Cessation | How To Become An Anaesthesiologist?

After going through this article, I am sure that you would know how to become an anaesthesiologist, what all things the job entails, the details about the working hours as well the salary that an anaesthesiologist gets. I hope I was able to answer all the questions related to how to become an anaesthesiologist. 

If the massive salary is not a good enough incentive to be pursuing this career, I am sure that the respect and the praise that you will get from the patients and their families will be enough to sway you towards this profession. You will only have to work hard and smart and with all your heart and you will be happy pursuing this career. 

If you have any further questions or suggestions regarding how to become an anaesthesiologist, do not hesitate to mention them in the comments section.

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