Purpose and Mission
Anaesthetists administer drugs that block or prevent pain in patients when undergoing surgical procedures or operations. They play a key role in deciding which anaesthetics need to be used during a procedure based on the type of operation and the patient’s current status and medications.
Most anaesthetists work in a private practice model. They may not have a direct supervisor, but are generally supervised by a hospital medical committee or the management of the practice. Anaesthetists that are employees of a hospital or clinic will typically report to a service or department head.
In general, an anaesthetist will have at least some supervisory responsibilities. They may oversee nurses or other members of the healthcare team. Some anaesthetists work in teaching environments and assist with on-the-job training of colleagues at hospitals and clinics.
Anaesthetists must complete an undergraduate and a medical degree (obtain a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)). If you want to specialise in anaesthesiology, you must obtain a Diploma of Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). Two years of supervised clinical work experience as a resident must be completed, then a five year training program is required to become a fellow.
All practising doctors in Australia must register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Responsibilities of an Anaesthetist
Anaesthetists have a variety of professional responsibilities relating to preparing patients for medical procedures. These important members of the surgical team provide anaesthesia-related medical care to patients in a variety of situations including:
Anaesthetists typically work in operating rooms, emergency departments, intensive care units, acute pain units, chronic pain units, day surgeries and at universities. They sometimes work long hours, and have to be on call upon occasion.
From helping a child to relax before a surgery to working with operating teams to safely deliver babies during emergency C-sections, an anaesthetist performs many roles in the hospital. Although they may not interact with their patients as much as other doctors, anaesthetists are often there for their patients during their times of greatest need and provide advice, reassurance and act as their guardians.