This Byte has been authored by

Laura Davidson

Are you considering medicine as a career? The medical field offers many different paths to specialize in.

When you think of a doctorwhat do you picture?

Anaesthesiologistoften isn't the first image that comes to mind but it's one of the most important and skilled professions in medicine.

A doctor in a hospital corridor nodding and smiling

Read on to find out if this career is a good fit for you!

What Is An Anaesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists specialize in administering anaesthesia to patients during surgery and for pain management. Flaticon Icon Anaesthesiology involves:

  • Meeting with patients before surgery to assess their condition, ensuring their decisions are safe and effective.

  • Continuously monitoring patients' vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, temperature) before, during and after surgery.

  • Preparing and administering various types of anaesthesia to patients in various areas of medicine.

    Flaticon Icon

Where Would You Work?

Anaesthesiologists work in a variety of private and public healthcare settings. The majority of your time will be in the operating room of hospitals but you'll also be needed in:

  • Intensive care units

  • Maternity units

  • Pre-admission clinics

  • Chronic pain clinics

    Dr. Nick from the Simpsons holding an anaesthesia mask, saying,

What Education Is Required?

One of the biggest considerations is the amount of education involved.

The path to becoming an anaesthesiologist can vary based on your country but typically involves completing 12 years of education:

  • Four year bachelor's degree (not necessarily related to medicine)

  • Four year medical school degree (earning either an M.D. or D.O.)

  • Four or five year residency program

Spongebob saying,

The Cost:

The cost of school is one of the biggest considerations. The years of studying required can rack up significant debt.

The good news: if you're able to fund your education, it can definitely pay for itself!

Consider the earning potential of an anaesthesiologist:

  • Anaesthesiologists earn higher salaries than any other type of doctor!

  • Salaries vary depending on years of experience, country, place of work, and private/ public sectors but it is a very high paying profession.

Flaticon Icon In Canada, the average salary for anaesthesiologists is $312,000 CAD.

Flaticon Icon In the U.S., the average salary for anaesthesiologists is $372,000 USD.

Is This A Career For You?

  • Do you thrive in high pressure and stressful situations?

  • Are you highly detail oriented?

  • Are you able to learn and follow procedures consistently and accurately?

  • Do you have good social skills?

  • Can you remain calm in all types of situations and put people at ease?

  • Do you mind working long and often inconsistent hours?

  • Are you willing to endure the years of education involved?

Consider more than just the salary before choosing to pursue a career as an anaesthesiologist!

You have to be content with being "behind the scenes."

  • Patients often praise and remember their surgeon, unaware that your work is critical in keeping them alive and comfortable.

  • You help many people but you usually don't get to know patients as closely as a physician might. You must learn about your patients quickly and use sound judgment to best treat each case.

    Your importance is not always recognized by patients!

    If you value building long-term doctor-patient relationships, this may not be the career for you.

Quiz

Which characteristic would be the most compatible with anaesthesiology?

Consider A Different Career if...

  • You don't like long and unpredictable hours.

  • You don't like the idea of being responsible for keeping patients alive.

  • You find it hard to make important decisions on the spot.

  • You're easily distracted.

  • You don't like working with people.

  • You don't want to invest time and money into many years of education.

    Options for choosing

Take Action

Are you interested in becoming an anaesthesiologist? A medical kit with confetti falling on it

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