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What it's like to be an anaesthesiologist

January 24, 2015, 7:51 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 692

By helenholtby_1

Being an anesthesiologist means taking responsibility for people's lives every day. In my case the people are children, and a lot of them are babies having heart surgery. I give them drugs to make them unconscious, have no pain and stay still for the surgery. I start intravenous lines and do other similar procedures and I monitor the patients and give fluids and blood and drugs to help them survive the surgery. We work as a team in the OR, but being an anesthesiologist has some unique features as a doctor. Most physicians see patients and send them for tests, make a diagnosis, and often refer them to another doctor for specialist treatment, or start them on a treatment and wait for some time to see what happens. In my job, I see a patient, and assess them and decide on how to manage them for their surgery. I decide which drugs to use, administer them myself and watch the response and modify what I do instantly. It is a very good job for impatient people (which might be me!). It is a psychological, pharmacological and physiological experiment for each patient, and our care is specifically tailored to each patient. As a doctor, it is an extraordinary privilege and a source of immense satisfaction to take good care of these vulnerable babies. I work with nurses and surgeons and perfusionists at Sickkids, who are wonderful colleagues and fantastic at their jobs. How do you become an anesthesiologist? Medical school first, and residency after that, then more training if you want to look after children, and yet more for paediatric cardiac work. Most anesthesiologists are really interested in physiology and pharmacology, and there are some needs for manual dexterity, but not so much as surgeons. Working in the operating room tends to have a fairly high degree of intensity, and there is an expectation for participants to be good team players. If you are the kind of person who needs a lot of time to make decisions, and who is stressed by being obliged to act quickly then this would not be a good choice of career. 

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