Anesthesiologist assistants work directly under the supervision of Anesthesiologists, physicians licensed in anesthesia specialty medicine, and in conjunction with the anesthesia care team, to create and implement anesthesia care plans. See the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
Duties include the operation of anesthesia equipment to monitor patients while delivering direct anesthesia care. Anesthesiologist assistants provide direct patient care before, during and after anesthesia to ensure continuity of care and quality.
Other duties may include assisting with life-saving measures, such as CPR and life support. Some of the core aspects of being an Anesthesiologist Assistant include meeting with patients and interacting with them before they undergo their procedure to record their medical history.
The medical history that you gather when interacting with patients is critical to ensuring that you come up with the comprehensive care plan so you can develop and then implement the anesthesia plan for effective pain management during the procedure.
In addition, Anesthesiologist Assistants help perform any physical exams to identify any areas of concern that might prevent the Anesthesiologist and the Anesthesiologist Assistant from moving forward with the anesthesia care plan for the procedure. Anesthesiologist Assistants also conduct pre-test systems that ensure the reliability of the anesthesia delivery methods. These tests ensure that there will be no hiccups during the procedure.
In addition to the pre-test procedures, Anesthesiologist Assistants play a critical role in making sure that all of the other preparatory procedures are taken care of. This might include checking the other technology that is involved in every procedure that continually checks the patient’s vitals or other important equipment that might be in use. One of the pieces of equipment that an Anesthesiologist Assistant might check is an echocardiogram.
Anesthesiologist assistants are, as with most healthcare positions, in high demand and a career choice with a promising future.
Anesthesiologist Assistants function as an extension of the physician and are responsible for performing critical measures to maintain the safety of the patient to ensure an optimal health outcome. Anesthesiologist Assistants have a host of core responsibilities that they need to conduct on a daily basis or frequently when they are working in a healthcare unit.
The anesthesiologist assistant’s responsibilities generally include the following:
Obtaining complete patient medical histories, conducting physical exams, and pre-procedure interviews
Review the complete patient medical history to confirm it’s authenticity with the patient to ensure it is accurate with the physical exams and pre-procedure interviews
Administering required diagnostic and laboratory tests
Work with the Physician and Anesthesiologist to determine the next step of prep for the procedures and begin the stages of prepping the patient for the procedure
Prepare the patient for the procedure by using non-invasive technologies
Perform various procedures to ensure that the technology is going to effectively deliver the anesthesia to the paint using pre-testing procedures
Help the Anesthesiologist prepare the patient by assisting with the anesthesia prep systems
Making recommendations regarding anesthetic care plans
Administering general and local anesthesia
Maintaining anesthesia delivery systems and monitors, including testing and calibration
Prepare patients to be effectively monitored
Monitoring patients under anesthesia
Be on standby if you have to assist with intensive care or critical care techniques by providing CPR or other emergency procedures
Perform varies administrative duties that might involve collecting medical records, conducting research, and following up with
Perform post-procedure tests on patients to ensure that they are recovering well
Anesthesiologist Assistants have to have a variety of skills that help them conduct their job with efficiency to ensure they can accurately perform anesthesia procedures on their patients under the care of the Anesthesiologist and Physician. Anesthesiologist assistants are required to demonstrate a solid understanding of safety protocols and exemplary communication skills in order to excel as part of the patient treatment team.
They must also demonstrate a mastery of the sciences, particularly those dealing with the human body, and the ability to draw conclusions from data. Anesthesiologist Assistants must also possess the ability to think critically, follow directions, and communicate with people of all walks of life.
Anesthesiologist Assistants work as part of a team, and as such, must be capable of vigorous collaboration and criticism. Anesthesiologist Assistants have to be comfortable taking direction from supervisors and their co-workers in the medical setting. This direction, collaboration, and criticism are critical to ensuring that the patient receives the best care possible and that the care provided is also the safest that it can be.
Because of the fact that the healthcare environment that an Anesthesiologist Assistant works in, they must be very comfortable in stressful environments, which is why it’s listed as a skill. In other words, Anesthesiologist Assistants need to prepared to handle high-pressure situations.
Anesthesiologist Assistants must also possess a series of organization skills that are critical to ensuring they record everything down accurately. Strong organization skills ensure that there are no mishaps in some of the patient medical records or the maintenance of the equipment.
In addition, the strong organizational skills that are required help ensure that all the proper procedures are followed according to standard operating procedures and recommendations.
One of the other skills that an Anesthesiologist Assistant needs to possess is manual dexterity. The manual dexterity is critical to ensuring that the Anesthesiologist Assistant can effectively interact with the patient and the equipment during the procedures when providing anesthesia.
Another skill that Anesthesiologist Assistants need to have is critical thinking. Critical thinking is a vital skill to have in an operating room when quick decisions need to be implemented to safeguard the well-being of the patient and ensure the anesthesia is being delivered effectively and efficiently.
Candidates who are looking to enter the healthcare industry and prefer to work in a team environment, are patient, great listeners, compassionate, open-minded, and tolerant may want to consider becoming an Anesthesiologist Assistant as a serious career path.
There are a host of common activities that you can expect to conduct throughout your normal routine on the job as an Anesthesiologist Assistant. These common activities on the job offer a glimpse at what a normal day might look like, to help guide you in whether or not working as an Anesthesiologist Assistant might be interesting to you.
• Check the Operating Room
One of the most common activities that you will have on the job as an Anesthesiologist Assistant is to check the operating room. When you check the operating room, your task is to make sure that there are no obstructions that will hamper the anesthetic procedure or medical procedure.
In addition, when you check the operating room, you will frequently be tasked with ensuring that the equipment is going to function properly and efficiently deliver the anesthetic materials to the patient undergoing the procedure.
• Track and Maintain Inventory Supply
Another core activity that an Anesthesiologist Assistant will do is to track and maintain the inventory supply. An Anesthesiologist cannot perform the critical pain relief techniques or use anesthesia during painful procedures if there aren’t any supplies available.
As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, one of your core activities will be to check and ensure that the supplies are prepared and ready for upcoming medical procedures. Part of the supplies that you will be checking relate to the operating room supplies, various anesthetic gasses, and anesthetic medications.
• Collect Pre-Operation Patient Medical History
As an Anesthesiology Assistant, you will also be tasked with collecting preo-op patient medical history. This patient medical history is used to ensure there are no questions or causes for concern with the upcoming procedure. The last thing that anybody wants is for something to go wrong, and it’s up to you to make sure that you ask critical questions related to their medical history and their background to ensure that something couldn’t go awry.
• Conduct a Review of the Patient Medical History
Once you have collected the patient medical history before the operation, the next thing for you to do is to review the patient medical history. When you are reviewing the patient medical history, you are looking for any changes that weren’t previously noted, new health concerns, or things that weren't mentioned before.
Reviewing the patient’s medical history is important in making sure that nothing is going to potentially hamper the procedure, or endanger the patient in a negative way.
• Monitor Patient Progress During Anesthesia Procedure
Once the procedure has begun, the Anesthesiologist Assistant is tasked with monitoring the patient. This means that they are responsible for checking the patient’s vital signs, taking note of how they are responding to the anesthesia, and ensuring that nothing is going wrong during the procedure.
During the course of the procedure, the Anesthesiologist Assistant will be tasked with informing the Physician and Anesthesiologist of any changes within the patient.
• Monitor Patient Progress During Recovery From Anesthesia Procedure
After the procedure is completed, the Anesthesiologist Assistant is tasked with checking in on the patient and monitoring their progress as they recover from the anesthesia that was provided to them. Any odd behaviors or symptoms should be noted.
• Care and Assist Others
As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, you will be frequently caring for and assisting others. Part of the care that you will be providing relates to the potential pain that they can experience and the mitigation of that pain. As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, you want to make sure that people are as comfortable as they can be during these painful surgeries.
As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, your primary responsibility is to the patient that you’re in charge of. So the most important activity you will do as an Anesthesiologist Assistant is to care for your patients.
• Solve Problems and Make Decisions
The next common activity you will have as an Anesthesiologist Assistant is to solve problems that arise and make decisions. If any concerns arise, then you should be prepared to problem solve and make decisions with the patient’s best interests in mind.
• Follow Close Compliance Standards
As an Anesthesiologist Assistant you will be tasked with following close compliance standards. The healthcare industry has some of the strictest compliance standards and regulations due to the fact that the patient’s health is most important. Years of research has been piled into everything that you do to ensure the safety of all those involved, and you will be tasked with ensuring that everything you do follows those compliance standards.
• Stay Up To Date and Use Relevant Knowledge
Part of following those compliance standards closely that we mentioned above is staying up to date and using relevant knowledge. Because the healthcare industry is constantly changing, methods of care and best-techniques for providing the most efficient care is also going to change.
This means that you need to stay up to date on some of the most common research that is being conducted, understand how that might affect your position moving forward, and then applying that relevant knowledge as an Anesthesiology Assistant.
Staying up to date on some of the more recent advancements or healthcare changes will come in the form of continuing education credits. You should be prepared to complete those continuing education credits throughout your career.
• Communicate Effectively
As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, you will have to effectively communicate with the patients under your care, your co-workers, superiors, and other relevant healthcare professionals. Effective communication is critical in ensuring that if an emergency scenario were to arise, that it could be handled properly and efficiently.
• Analyze Important Information and Data
As we have covered above, an Anesthesiologist Assistant might be tasked with reviewing important data from a host of different sources like medical equipment, patient medical history, and more. As an Anesthesiologist Assistant, it’s important to be able to discern the information that is provided in these reports.
Anesthesiologist assistants work under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist in hospitals and surgery centers.
They generally work in sterile, cool environments and conduct most of it on their feet. AAs are closely managed and directed to avoid potential error, and must follow strict protocols in order to maintain the cleanliness necessary for proper patient care in an operating room.
A typical workweek may include a rotation for on-call, evening or weekend assignments, so flexibility is key to success.
Offices of health pratitioners
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||
|Outpatient care centers||7%|
|Educational services; state, local, and private||3%|
If you're interested in learning more about what it takes to become an Anesthesiologist Assistant, take the time to review our Anesthesiologist Career Path.
|Estimated Annual Salary||Average Hourly Wage||Positions Nationwide|