You have persevered through years of schooling, training, residency and more. For your patients, you are the protector, the expert in physiology and balance, master in resuscitation, and of course, as the anesthesiologist, the expert in pain management.
For the sake of patient safety, it must be clear about who is on the patient care team, and what their training, qualifications, and expertise is. For higher acuity patients and more complex cases, physician expertise not only ensures the best outcome, but may make the difference between life or death. Even the “easy” cases don’t always go as expected. For unexpected complications, an anesthesia specialist who is trained in diagnosing the problem is essential. For low-risk patients undergoing low risk procedures, nurse anesthetists are usually quite qualified and capable of providing anesthesia.
The level of compassion and commitment to patient care does not differ between physicians and nurses, but the education, skills training, and expertise does. So clear communication with patients about provider training and capabilities is essential for upholding medical ethics, promoting patient understanding of their care, and ensuring patient safety.
So think about this: as an anesthesiologist, your job is to protect your patient from the harm the surgeon is inflicting on the human body as they do their work to fix something that is already broken. Outside of the medical arena, this would be assault. As the anesthesia specialist you make it possible for patients to survive these benevolent attacks. And perhaps more importantly, you make sure patients do not remember or feel these things. While the surgeon’s job is to cut and sew, the anesthesiologist is the expert in physiology and homeostasis, essentially keeping everything as it is.
Anesthesiologists are the custodians of perioperative care, ensuring the patient is optimized for surgery, and that it’s safe for them to undergo surgery. As the experts in resuscitation, anesthesiologists are the ones you want around when complications arise – to put in the breathing tube to breath, put in IVs and special catheters to deliver medications, fluids, or blood products, and to manage the ventilators, infusions, and medications that quite literally, will keep the patient alive. And they do it fast.
When it comes to pain management, the alleviation of pain and suffering, anesthesiologists specialize in exactly that. Just consider this: what the majority of patients fear most is not the surgery, not the hospital stay, not missing work, or even death – it’s pain. Mastery of pharmacology is used to ensure that pain is not experienced during surgery, but also to minimize it afterward. The mastery of anatomy, ultrasound technology and neurophysiology is used to inject medications into and around the spine, or directly around targeted nerves, to modify or even ablate pain completely. Many anesthesiologists complete fellowship training to further develop these remarkable skills to perform super-specialized procedures in the field of acute or chronic pain management.
These are the qualities of a champion, a super hero, a true medical ninja.
5 Reasons Why Your Anesthesiologist is a Medical Ninja. kevinmd.com
When It Comes to Safe Anesthesia Care, There is No Substitute for Trained Physicians. csahq.org