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A Guide To Becoming A General Anesthesiologist

If you are interested in a medical career but don't know which field to focus on, general anesthesiology may interest you. However, if you aren't sure what a general anesthesiology career entails, here's an overview of what it means to be a general anesthesiologist, including the educational requirements needed to become one.

What is a General Anesthesiologist?

A general anesthesiologist is a highly trained medical doctor who works with patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They are responsible for administering anesthesia, monitoring the patient's vital signs during surgery, and managing pain relief after surgery. In addition, anesthesiologists often work alongside surgeons and other medical professionals in the operating room to ensure that patients receive safe and effective care.

What Type of Education Do You Need for a General Anesthesiologist Career?

Becoming a general anesthesiologist requires extensive education and training. After graduating from college with a four-year degree focusing on pre-med, aspiring students must complete four years of medical school followed by four years of specialty residency training in anesthesiology, for a total of 12 years of education post-high school.

During their residency training, students will be exposed to various types of anesthesia techniques, such as local, regional, spinal, epidural, and intravenous sedation. Additionally, they may be required to complete rotations in related specialties such as cardiology or critical care medicine. Finally, after completing all necessary education and training requirements, potential physicians must pass both written and oral board examinations before becoming certified in their specialty field.

Some general anesthesiologists continue their studies and opt to complete a fellowship, allowing them to specialize in a specific area, including:

  • Pain management
  • Cardiac anesthesia
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Neuroanesthesia 
  • Obstetric anesthesia
  • Critical care medicine

What Is the Difference Between a General Anesthesiologist and a Nurse Anesthetist?

While general anesthesiologists are medical doctors, nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses. Both offer anesthesia care for patients. However, nurse anesthetists spend less time in school, have less training, and often work under the direct supervision of a certified anesthesiologist.

Becoming a general anesthesiologist is a long and challenging process, but you can make it happen. With dedication, you can enter a rewarding career as a general anesthesiologist and help patients receive the safe, effective care they need. If you are considering pursuing this career path, it's important to understand all the educational requirements involved to make the commitment needed. However, with enough perseverance and determination, you can enjoy a general anesthesiologist career.