Shadowing a DoctorJanuary 27, 2014
Anesthesiologist assistants are highly trained specialists who typically work under the supervision of a licensed anesthesiologist to design and implement anesthesia care plans.
Detailed job description
Anesthesiologist assistants are responsible for operating anesthesia equipment, monitoring patients and providing quality anesthesia care. They often also perform a variety of tasks that ensure the safety and well being of the patient.
Anesthesiologist assistants accompany and monitor the patient right through, before, during and after anesthesia to ensure quality and continuity of care. These skilled professionals are trained to assist in crucial life-saving measures such as CPR and life support.
The responsibilities of an anesthesiologist assistant include:
- Performing physical exams to identify any issues that may affect the anesthesia care plan
- Recording a complete and detailed health history of the patient
- Administering necessary diagnostic and laboratory tests, such as taking blood
- Assisting with preparatory procedures, such as echocardiography, electroencephalographic spectral analysis and pulmonary artery catheterization
- Preparing the patient to be monitored, using noninvasive and invasive methods, as determined by the physician
- Pre-testing and calibrating anesthesia delivery systems and monitors
- Adjusting and maintaining the level of anesthesia before and during the surgery
- Performing administrative duties, research and clinical instruction
- Ensuring continuity of care throughout
- Assisting with life support whenever necessary
- Performing essential duties in the pain clinic and intensive care unit
Because of the pressing need for trained and skilled specialists to deliver anesthesia, these professionals are in high demand in any healthcare settings where surgery is performed. They mostly work in hospitals and surgery centers under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist.
To become an anesthesiologist assistant, you will have to first complete a 4-year college degree, taking a pre-medical curriculum with course work in general and advanced biology, general and organic chemistry, physics and advanced college math.
The 2-year master’s level training program includes vast course work that augments basic knowledge in pharmacology, biochemistry, physiology and anatomy and with special focus on the neuromuscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous and renal systems.
Clinical instruction includes extensive education and training in anesthesia delivery systems, life support systems, patient monitoring, patient assessment and in the skills needed to provide compassionate and quality care.
It is important to pick an accredited program that works closely with a medical school and is taught by physicians who are board-certified in anesthesiology.
Students complete 600 hours of coursework in the classroom and laboratory, a minimum of 63 didactic hours and 2,000 hours of clinical training. During the clinical portion, students will administer as many as 600 different anesthetics during a variety of surgeries.
Familiarization of safety protocols and outstanding communication skills are essential traits that help the anesthesiologist assistant excel as part of the treatment team.
Anesthesiologist assistants are also required to complete 40 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years and pass a qualifying exam every six years.