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What Does An Anesthetist Do?

Discussion in 'Anesthesia' started by Egyptian Doctor, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    An anesthetist, also called an anesthesiologist, is responsible for administering local or general anesthetic.

    Local anesthetic is where only the part of the body being operated on is numbed so the patient can’t feel anything in that specific area.

    General anesthetic is where the anesthetist puts a patient to sleep (medical terminology: the anesthetist sedates the patient) in preparation for an operation.

    The obvious reason for putting a patient to sleep for an operation is so that the patient won’t feel pain and discomfort during the operation.
    But the anesthetist is also in charge of the patient’s overall well being.

    For example, after putting a patient to sleep, the anesthetist will make sure that the patient is in the correct position for the operation. For example, a back operation will require a different position than a stomach operation.

    Another reason an anesthetist checks the patient’s body position, is that, if for example a patient has his legs crossed for an hour or two or how ever long the procedure takes, a nerve in the leg can sustain damage.

    Basic principles of anesthesia
    Preoperative assessment
    It is the anesthetist’s responsibility to ensure that the patient is starved, suitably prepared and medically fit to endure the proposed surgery as well as the related anesthetic.

    Some patients require further investigation and treatment to get them into optimum condition for major operations, and anesthetists are best placed to take responsibility for this task.

    If you’re wondering why a patient gets starved…
    A patient is told not to eat or drink for a period of usually 6 hours before the operation (the patient is ‘starved’). The reason for this is that the anesthetic causes the patient’s muscles to relax, including the valves between the esophagus and the stomach, allowing stomach content to flow via the esophagus into the airways lungs.

    Stomach content is very acidic and contains enzymes that will digest the delicate lung tissue, obviously a life threatening condition!
    The administration of the appropriate anesthetic/sedation.

    • Continuous monitoring of vital signs
    • Monitoring of the level and depth of anesthesia
    • Making adjustments if necessary
    • Recognition of any potentially life threatening emergencies and timely intervention
    • Ensuring the safety of the patient and taking appropriate steps to avoid any injuries to the patient’s body during the anesthetic period
    Handling of any anesthetic complications (for example nausea)

    Ensuring a safe and pain free (or minimal pain) recovery and postoperative period

    Various disciplines in the field of anesthesia

    Anesthetic sub-specialties include cardiac and thoracic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, pediatrics, dental, maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, obstetricsorthopedic surgery, and trauma & emergency surgery.

    Intensive care medicine and pain management are two other sub-specialty areas, both of which involve a significant amount of work outside the theatre environment.

    What are the benefits of following anesthesia as a career?

    The ability to contain and control the patient’s pain and anxiety using both communication and medical skills makes for a fulfilling career.

    Free time
    Anesthetists/anesthesiologists often rotate on an emergency after hours roster giving them free time to spend with their families. It is also relatively easy to work on a part time or a locum basis which provides opportunities for getting away for long holidays.

    Anesthetists/anesthesiologists often belong to a group practice which allows for individuals in the group to relocate with relative ease to another city or town should they so desire.

    Financial security
    In most countries anesthetists are in high demand assuring a financially rewarding career.

    The practice of anesthesia embraces great diversity of anesthetic procedure, ranging from having to administer anesthetics to newborn babies, to old and senile patients; from dealing with minor outpatient procedures to heart transplants and brain surgery.

    Are there any disadvantages to becoming an anesthetist?

    A demanding and a long training period is required.

    The image of anesthesia may seem less attractive compared to the surgical disciplines e.g. neurosurgery.

    This is a false perception and is fortunately changing fast.

    Anesthesia does not allow for the establishment of long term doctor-patient relationships.If this type of relationship is important to you, consider a career in one of the other branches of medicine or pursue an anesthetic career in the Intensive Care Unit or in a Pain Clinic.

    Before and after the surgery, you’re very busy, and while the surgery is in progress, you monitor the patient every so often, but, things can get monotonous during the surgery.

    Medico legal risks. Anesthesia carries a higher medico legal risk profile and insurance for this purpose has a high premium.

    If you want to become an anesthetist, rest assured, it is a rewarding career that pays well and will ensure you remain in demand no matter where in the world you choose to live.

    Relating to this article, you can complete or review the following practical projects on The Apprentice Doctor CDROM…

    How to examine the body cavities by inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation.

    Examine the body using the time-honored examinational skills that an anesthetist uses every day!

    Determine the respiratory rate
    Accurately determine the respiratory rate, and learn the importance of this in monitoring a patient’s well being.

    Determine the heart rate
    Accurately determine the heart rate, and the importance of this in monitoring a patient’s vital signs.

    Take an accurate blood pressure reading
    This remains one of the most basic and valuable universal patient monitoring skills.

    Breathing Movements
    Learn the difference between diaphragmatic and costal breathing and the clinical relevance of this distinction.



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    sheilaabdullah likes this.

  2. Shahid Dar

    Shahid Dar Famous Member

    Jan 17, 2014
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    great info...thanks for sharing:):) tell the names of some local & general anesthesia??

    kamal sirriyyah likes this.
  3. ajini varughese

    ajini varughese Active member

    Feb 7, 2014
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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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    United States
  4. Isaac Newton

    Isaac Newton Active member

    Dec 9, 2013
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    pre-medical student
    Half Assini, Western, Ghana
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    very helpful

  5. Aldo Quevedo

    Aldo Quevedo Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2013
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  6. kamal sirriyyah

    kamal sirriyyah Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2014
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    Amman, Jordan
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    I am anesthetist and I like my job

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