Anesthesiology Career Planning
Faculty Advisors to M4 Students
Secretary, Department of Anesthesia
Mastin Bldg, 2nd floor Suite, #216
Phone: (251) 471-7045
Informal Description of the Clinical Discipline
Anesthesiologists are involved in patient care in four main areas: 1) operating room anesthesia, 2) critical care medicine, 3) pain control, 4) obstetrics anesthesia.
The majority of the Anesthesiologist’s effort is in the operating room. There, the anesthesiologist renders the patient insensitive to surgical pain and stimulation. In doing so, extremely potent drugs are used which markedly affect the patient’s physiology. Most noticeable affected are the neurologic, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Operative care of the patient requires monitoring and maintenance of physiologic functions. This requires pharmacologic intervention, inhibiting sensation, controlling respiration, and adjustment of fluid infusions. Considerable technology has developed around Anesthesiology to help facilitate measurement of physiologic variables. Areas of subspecialty interest have developed in cardiac, neuro, pediatric and obstetrical anesthesia.
Some anesthesiologists are involved in the care of critically ill surgical patients. If fact, modern critical care medicine has its roots in the involvement of anesthesiologists perfecting he means to mechanically ventilate polio victims. The American Board of Anesthesiology offers a certificate of Special Qualifications in Critical Care Medicine. Involvement in postoperative care is a logical extension of the operating room care provided by the anesthesiologist. This usually includes management of cardiovascular and pulmonary problems.
Involvement of anesthesiologists into the management of chronic pain grew from intraoperative and post operative control of responses to surgical stimulus. Both acute and chronic pain syndromes are addressed by anesthesiologists. This area of anesthesiology can be very attractive to the physician wishing to have more long term contact with patients.
Training requirements in anesthesiology start with a clinical base year which is best fulfilled by a rotating type of internship. Medical, surgical and pediatric years are also acceptable. Three years of clinical anesthesiology are required. The third year may focus on a subspecialty area or on research, along with emphasis on becoming a true Consultant in Anesthesiology.