When you're in surgery you want the guy who is doing the cutting to get it right. More importantly, you want the guy whose job it is to knock you out before the cutting even starts to get it even more right. Known as anesthesiologists, these medical professionals are tasked with an array of responsibilities that extend far beyond the sterile walls of the surgical theater. Indeed, in addition to actually administering anesthesia during medical procedures, anesthesiologists conduct a detailed preoperative assessment of the patient's health and makes diagnostic determinations based on that evaluation to ensure the patient's comfort during surgery. Following the surgical procedure, the anesthesiologist is on hand to make sure the patient emerges from the effects of the anesthesia unscathed.
The route to becoming an anesthesiologist is a long one. First, as a medical doctor, anesthesiologists will hold a bachelor's degree in any number of disciplines like chemistry, biology, or pre-med studies. Following graduation from college the candidate moves on to medical school where they complete a rigorous four-year program before leaving with a degree as a general doctor in medicine.
Once they've chosen anesthesiology as a specialty, aspiring anesthesiologists must then complete another four-years of intensive training to learn the ins-and-outs of their profession. These programs typically involve completing an internship or residency, before being eligible to sit for the American Board of Anesthesiology exam. Nearly three-fourths of all anesthesiologists are board certified.
As one might expect from the sheer number of years required to complete the training of an anesthesiologist, the job is one of the most highly compensated positions in medicine, and competition is stiff for any available openings.
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