Career Development

What Does an Anesthesiologist Do?

Find out what an anesthesiologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an anesthesiologist.

Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in the field of anesthesiology. They are trained to administer anesthesia and monitor patients during surgery or other procedures that require it.

Anesthesiologists may also provide pain management services, including administering medications or performing procedures such as epidurals or spinal blocks.

Anesthesiologist Job Duties

Anesthesiologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Administering anesthetics to patients during surgery or other medical procedures
  • Supervising and guiding medical students, residents, fellows, and other junior members of the team through their education
  • Managing the patient’s vital signs and overall health during the procedure to ensure safety
  • Conducting research to develop new anesthetic techniques and methods for improving patient outcomes
  • Administering anesthesia to patients before surgery, sometimes with help from an anesthesiologist assistant or a nurse anesthetist
  • Maintaining equipment and monitoring the patient’s condition during surgery to ensure safety
  • Performing medical tests and examinations to assess a patient’s physical condition and determine if they are healthy enough to undergo surgery
  • Administering pain medications to patients who are undergoing surgery or who have chronic pain conditions that require ongoing treatment
  • Managing the patient’s recovery process after surgery by monitoring their progress and adjusting their treatment plan as needed

Anesthesiologist Salary & Outlook

Anesthesiologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of anesthetics they administer.

  • Median Annual Salary: $365,500 ($175.72/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $477,500 ($229.57/hour)

The employment of anesthesiologists is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Anesthesiologists will be needed to provide pain relief and other treatments for patients who have cancer, heart disease, or other conditions that cause severe pain. However, the growth in the number of these specialists will be limited by the increasing use of physician assistants and nurse anesthetists to administer anesthesia.

Anesthesiologist Job Requirements

To become an anesthesiologist, one typically needs to have the following:

Education: Anesthesiologists need to complete a medical degree. They typically earn a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, biology or another science-related field.

After completing their undergraduate degree, aspiring anesthesiologists complete a four-year medical school program. During this time, they study topics such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, medical ethics and medical law.

Training & Experience: After completing medical school, students must complete a residency program. These programs typically last three to five years and provide the necessary training to become an anesthesiologist. During a residency, a resident will work under the supervision of a practicing anesthesiologist. They will learn how to perform anesthesia and other duties.

After completing a residency, a physician will need to complete a fellowship. Fellowships are one to two years long and provide additional training in a specific area of anesthesiology. Some fellowships are more specialized and focus on a certain area of anesthesiology, such as pain management or critical care.

Certifications & Licenses: Anesthesiologists must earn a license from their state’s medical board. To earn a license, they need to pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). To apply for licensure, candidates submit proof that they graduated from an accredited medical school, completed a residency and pass the USMLE.

Board certification is voluntary. However, most health care facilities seek board-certified physicians.

Anesthesiologist Skills

Anesthesiologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Anesthesiologists must be able to communicate with patients, medical staff and other anesthesiologists. They must be able to explain procedures and answer patient questions. They also need to be able to work with other medical professionals to ensure the patient’s safety.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to make decisions based on the available information. Anesthesiologists use critical thinking skills to make decisions about patient care. They may need to make decisions about the best anesthesia plan for a patient, the best method of pain management and the best treatment for any complications that may arise during a procedure.

Time management: Anesthesiologists often have multiple patients to see in a day, so time management is an important skill for them to have. They need to be able to prioritize their tasks and manage their time wisely so they can complete all their duties in a timely manner.

Medical knowledge: Medical knowledge is the ability to understand medical procedures and the effects of medical treatments. Anesthesiologists need to have extensive medical knowledge to be able to properly assess patients and determine the best treatment for them. Medical knowledge can also help anesthesiologists understand the effects of anesthesia on patients and how to treat them.

Leadership: Anesthesiologists often supervise other medical professionals, including nurses, technicians and other anesthesiologists. They may also be responsible for ensuring that the operating room staff follows proper protocol and that the patient receives the best care possible. Leadership skills can help anesthesiologists maintain a positive work environment and ensure that their patients receive the best treatment.

Anesthesiologist Work Environment

Anesthesiologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and pain management clinics. They typically work long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Anesthesiologists may be on call, which means they are available to work at any time. They may also be required to work overtime to cover for other anesthesiologists who are on vacation or out sick. Anesthesiologists typically work in teams of two or more, so they can take breaks and rotate shifts. However, they may work alone during emergency situations. Anesthesiologists must be able to handle the stress of working in life-threatening situations and be able to make quick decisions.

Anesthesiologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how anesthesiologists work. Anesthesiologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of AI in Healthcare

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is becoming increasingly common as the technology becomes more advanced. This trend is having a significant impact on the anesthesiologist profession, as AI can be used to automate many of the tasks that anesthesiologists are responsible for.

As AI becomes more prevalent in healthcare, anesthesiologists will need to learn how to work with the technology and utilize its capabilities to improve patient care. They will also need to be able to manage and maintain AI systems in order to ensure that they are running properly.

Patient-Centered Care

Patient-centered care is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity in the medical field. This trend focuses on providing patients with a more personalized experience by putting their needs first.

Anesthesiologists can capitalize on this trend by developing skills in communication and empathy. By doing so, they can help to create a more positive experience for patients during what can often be a stressful time. In addition, anesthesiologists can also focus on developing relationships with other members of the healthcare team in order to provide a more comprehensive level of care.

A Focus on Patient Safety

As hospitals and clinics strive to provide the safest possible environment for their patients, anesthesiologists are playing a key role in ensuring that this goal is met.

By focusing on patient safety, anesthesiologists can help to reduce the risk of accidents and mistakes that could potentially harm patients. They can do this by implementing best practices and procedures, as well as by working closely with other members of the healthcare team.

How to Become an Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can specialize in different areas, such as critical care or pain management. They can also choose to work in different settings, such as hospitals, ambulatory care centers, or private practice.

No matter what direction they take, anesthesiologists must stay up-to-date on the latest medical developments and techniques. This requires ongoing education and training.

Related: How to Write an Anesthesiologist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Anesthesiologists have a few options for advancing their careers. They may move into leadership positions such as chief of anesthesia or medical director of anesthesiology. They may also move into academic medicine and teach at a medical school or become involved in research. Some anesthesiologists move into private practice, where they may open their own solo practice or join a group practice.

Anesthesiologist Job Description Example

Anesthesiologists at [CompanyX] provide medical care to patients before, during, and after surgery. As an anesthesiologist at [CompanyX], you will be responsible for the administration of anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery, as well as monitoring the patient’s vital signs and ensuring their safety during the procedure. In addition to your clinical duties, you will also be responsible for the supervision of residents and medical students, as well as the development and implementation of policies and procedures related to the administration of anesthesia.

The ideal candidate for this position will be a board-certified anesthesiologist with experience in a variety of surgical settings. You must be able to work independently and make sound decisions in a fast-paced environment. You must also be able to effectively communicate with surgeons, nurses, and other members of the surgical team.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Work with other members of the surgical team to develop and implement anesthesia care plans
  • Induce and maintain anesthesia during surgery, monitoring patients’ vital signs and adjusting medications as needed
  • Manage pain relief medication before, during, and after surgery
  • Respond to emergencies that may arise during surgery
  • Keep detailed records of patients’ medical histories and anesthesia care plans
  • Educate patients and their families about anesthesia and what to expect before, during, and after surgery
  • Work with surgeons to determine the best type of anesthesia for each patient
  • Monitor patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing during surgery
  • Administer local, regional, or general anesthesia
  • Select and prescribe the most appropriate anesthetic agents and techniques
  • Supervise nurse anesthetists and anesthesiology assistants
  • Collaborate with other physicians and health care professionals to plan and provide medical treatment

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an accredited medical school
  • Completion of a residency program in anesthesiology
  • Board certification or board eligibility by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA)
  • Active state medical license
  • DEA registration
  • Current CPR certification

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Fellowship training in a subspecialty area of anesthesiology
  • Experience working in a hospital setting
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills

Similar Jobs


What Does a Transcriptionist Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does an Event Manager Do?