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STEM Career Spotlight: Anesthesiologist

By Sidra Miller

The field of medicine is a vast landscape, encompassing various specialties that contribute to the overall health and well-being of individuals. Among these, the role of an anesthesiologist stands out as a crucial aspect of modern medical practice. An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who specializes in administering anesthesia and monitoring patients during surgery, ensuring their safety and comfort throughout the procedure. This essay will delve into the educational path, responsibilities, and importance of an anesthesiologist in the realm of healthcare.

High school students aiming to pursue a career as an anesthesiologist can prepare by focusing on a strong foundation in science and mathematics. Classes such as biology, chemistry, physics, and advanced mathematics courses can provide the necessary groundwork for success in the medical field. Developing excellent communication and critical thinking skills is also crucial, as anesthesiologists must interact with patients and make quick decisions in high-pressure situations. To embark on the journey of becoming an anesthesiologist, a rigorous educational path is essential. Aspiring anesthesiologists must complete an undergraduate degree followed by four years of medical school. Upon obtaining their medical degree, they then proceed to a residency program in anesthesiology, which typically lasts for four years. In total, the educational journey to becoming an anesthesiologist can take around 12 years after high school graduation.

During their undergraduate years, aspiring anesthesiologists typically major in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry. The undergraduate coursework lays the foundation for medical school prerequisites and allows students to develop a strong scientific knowledge base. The medical school curriculum for future anesthesiologists is both comprehensive and demanding. Courses include anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, pathology, and medical ethics, among others. These classes equip students with a deep understanding of the human body, medical practices, and the ethical considerations essential in patient care.

Upon completing medical school, aspiring anesthesiologists enter a residency program in anesthesiology. During this period, they gain hands-on experience in various clinical settings, learning how to administer different types of anesthesia and manage patients' responses to it. They become skilled in evaluating patients' medical histories, determining the appropriate type and dosage of anesthesia, and monitoring patients' vital signs throughout surgical procedures. This residency period is crucial for building practical skills and confidence in the field. The responsibilities of an anesthesiologist extend far beyond merely administering anesthesia. They play a pivotal role in ensuring patient safety before, during, and after surgery. Anesthesiologists collaborate closely with the surgical team to tailor anesthesia plans to individual patient's needs, taking into account their medical history, current health status, and the specifics of the procedure. During surgery, anesthesiologists monitor patients' vital signs, adjust anesthesia levels as needed, and respond swiftly to any changes in the patient's condition.

Furthermore, anesthesiologists are responsible for managing pain and discomfort, both during the procedure and in the post-operative phase. They work to minimize patients' pain and discomfort by providing appropriate pain relief strategies and medications. Their expertise contributes significantly to the overall patient experience and recovery process. In terms of compensation, anesthesiologists are well-rewarded for their expertise and the critical role they play in healthcare. The salary of an anesthesiologist can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and the type of facility they work in. On average, however, anesthesiologists in the United States earn anywhere between $300-500k, with figures often exceeding the national average for physicians.

In conclusion, an anesthesiologist is a medical professional who wields a unique and essential skill set within the realm of healthcare. The path to becoming an anesthesiologist requires years of education and training, including a rigorous undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency. High school students interested in pursuing this career should focus on a solid foundation in science and mathematics and develop strong communication and critical thinking skills. The responsibilities of an anesthesiologist encompass patient safety, pain management, and collaboration with surgical teams. Their expertise ensures that surgical procedures are conducted with utmost comfort and safety for the patient. As an indispensable component of modern medicine, anesthesiologists continue to make significant contributions to the well-being of individuals undergoing surgical interventions.

Works Cited

“​Anesthesia as a Career.” American Society of Anesthesiologists, 4 Aug. 2023,


“Anesthesiologist Salary in Omaha, Nebraska.”,

“Role of a Physician Anesthesiologist - When Seconds Count.” American Society of



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