Anesthesiologist Career Profile

Anesthesiologist careers involve work in the field of pain management at various levels. Their work is highly technical, involving a wide knowledge base and experience in pain management issues. Anesthesiologists typically work in the field of surgery, providing pain relief for pre and post operative patients. They also work in the area of planned pain management for chronic cases experienced by those with major medical conditions.

The Work Environment

Anesthesiologists function is within the surgical field. They monitor and control of patient vital signs, respiration, blood pressure and heart function. This is difficult, highly technical work which is directly related to the pain management sphere of operations. Anesthetics affect body functions which are sometimes compromised during surgery, and the anesthesiologist is the person best qualified to analyze these issues.

The anesthesiologist also has a consultation role. This work involves planning medication and pain management for people who require ongoing care and in many cases dealing with referrals from other physicians. Pain management is a particularly technical, sometimes difficult, part of the anesthesiologist's work. Some forms of anesthetic and painkillers are not appropriate for certain medical conditions. Patients are in many cases suffering chronic pain on a regular basis, requiring extensive medication. They can cause problems, and sometimes serious medical issues, for patients. The anesthesiologist must determine a reliable, effective form of pain management which covers these situations.

The Workload

The anesthesiologist must also deal with a high volume workload. This involves balancing urgent situations, surgery, and complicated pain management scenarios with incoming work. It's no overstatement to say that an anesthesiologist may literally be on the move all day in a hospital practice. The anesthesiologist is the qualified person licensed to provide certain critical pain management services, and that job description accurately defines the levels of responsibility.

Anesthesiologists require a particularly broad technical knowledge base. They're required to be fully conversant with the practices, side effects, and procedures of their field in considerable detail. Many surgical anesthetics are very powerful drugs, and can be lethal if incorrectly administered. Some are addictive, and their use is governed by strict legal requirements. The breach of these legal requirements is an offense against those laws.

Wages and Hours

The average salary is $195,000 and will vary according to experience, location, and qualifications.

The hours may be lengthy and the anesthesiologist may be provided with very short notices.

The Career Outlook

Anesthesiologists are very much in demand across the health care industry. This demand is based on factors external to the hospital area, which is itself often short of anesthesiologists. Areas of demand outside the hospital bandwidth include:

  • Aged care
  • Disability patients
  • Special areas of care
  • Community health

Anesthesiologists may specialize, to a degree, in various forms of care, although the basic function of their work remains much the same. This specialization reflects particular areas of the anesthesiology requirements of these types of medical procedure, like intensive care specialists. 

Career advancement in this field is characterized by the type of practice, and is promotional in many cases, leading to senior positions and in some cases hospital board positions and management areas. Another area of career progression is in research, usually at doctoral or post doctoral levels.