Entering an anesthesiology assistant program is great career choice, for men and women who have completed pre-med programs or nurses who have completed the equivalent coursework. Anesthesiology assistants work directly under the anesthesiologist, gathering information from patients and assisting with the anesthetic procedure.
Functions of an Anesthesiology Assistant
It’s the responsibility of the anesthesiology assistant to be the anesthesiologist’s interface with the patient. Anesthesiology assistants collect medical information from the patient, perform pre-anesthetic exams and relay the information to the anesthesiologist. If necessary, anesthesiology assistants will also perform blood tests.
Before a procedure, the anesthesiology assistant will be responsible for placing invasive and noninvasive monitoring devices. It’s the anesthesiology assistant’s duty to read the medical monitoring devices during the procedure and to assist the anesthesiologist with inducing and maintaining the anesthesia, or adjusting levels. Anesthesiology assistants must be prepared, at all times, to assist with resuscitating patients and administering advanced life support. The duties of an anesthesiology assistant are nearly identical to a nurse of anesthetists.
How to Become an Anesthesiology Assistant
Learning how to become an anesthesiologist assistant could be the first step to a new and rewarding career. It is necessary to understand what it takes to enter this profession in order to decide if this skilled allied health career is right for you. Anesthesiologist assistants help to care for patients under the supervision of anesthesiologists, performing tasks such as carrying out physical exams, helping the anesthesiologist in his or her duties and gathering information on the patients. If you are going to do this job you will need to be trained on administering anesthesia, drawing blood, monitoring anesthetized patients, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitations and intubations and using advanced life support technologies.
Anesthesiologist assistants have many career options these days, which is one of the benefits of this career. As an anesthesiologist assistant you will more than likely work in a large institution that performs advanced surgical procedures, but every size and type of hospital employs these skilled allied health professionals. And the salary is excellent, starting at around $100,000 a year and increasing with experience and specialization. You will need to complete quite a bit of schooling, however, and you will need to be prepared to deal with some tough working conditions.
The path to becoming an anesthesiologist assistant starts with a bachelor’s degree that includes premedical coursework such as biology and chemistry. A science-related bachelor’s degree is a good choice, but many subjects will help lay the groundwork for this career. The next step is a two-year graduate program in anesthesiology that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. An internship or other type of hands-on training will be included in this program. Finally, you will need to pass the examination to become certified by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants.
It will take at least six years of education plus an internship and passage of a tough exam to become an anesthesiologist assistant, and you will need continuing education to remain certified throughout your profession. But with excellent pay, numerous job options and the rewards of helping patients, the commitment is worth it if you have what it takes for this career.
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