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Anesthesiologist Assistants

Anesthesiologist assistants complete advanced clinical training to administer anesthetic treatments under the guidance of licensed anesthesiologists, trained professionals who administer anesthesia to people undergoing surgery or struggling with chronic pain. Additionally, anesthesiologists assign various pre-surgery duties to anesthesiologist assignments in operating rooms and other hospital environments.

Anesthesiologist assistants are trained to use sophisticated technology to monitor sedated patients and assist anesthesiologists with other complementary tasks. As a result, anesthesiologists can assist more patients and work more efficiently.

Anesthesiologist assistants also collect patient information, assist anesthesiologists with patient evaluations, maintain records detailing scheduled surgeries, and assist anesthesiologists develop anesthetic care plans. The duties of anesthesiologist assistants are affected by state medical regulations.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the American Academcy of Anesthesiologist Assistants the anesthesiologist assistantís duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Procure a preanesthetic health history, perform an appropriate physical examination, and record relevant patient data.
  • Conduct necessary diagnostic laboratory studies such as drawing arterial and venous blood samples;
  • Adjust and maintain patient anesthesia levels, provide continuity of anesthetic care into and during the post-operative recovery period;
  • Establish monitoring modalities under the direction of a supervising anesthesiologist;
  • Employ advanced monitoring techniques, such as pulmonary artery catheterization, echocardiography, electroencephalographic spectral analysis, and evoked potentials;
  • Employ advanced life support techniques, including intra-arterial cardiovascular assist devices and high frequency ventilation.
  • Recorder post-operative patient progress; compile and record case summaries, and transcribing orders;
  • Assist in the treatment of life-threatening situations, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the basis of industry established protocols.
  • Perform various duties in pain clinics, a intensive care units, and various other settings.
  • Manage various administrative duties relating to personnel, supplies and devices;
  • Participate in the training of staff
  • Administer and monitor regional anesthesia including spinal, IV regional, epidural, etc.
Employment Characteristics
Anesthesiologist assistants work as part of the anesthesia care under the direction of a licensed anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologist assistants typically work within organizations and companies that also employ nurse anesthetists, as their responsibilities are very similar. Anesthesiologist assistants usually work in large medical facilities and hospitals that regularly perform procedures including cardiac surgery, transplant surgery, neurosurgery, and trauma care. Notwithstanding, anesthesiologist assistants can be found working hospitals of all sizes and assist in a large variety of anesthesia related procedures.

Education and Training
Graduate training programs usually last between 2 Ė 2 Ĺ years.

To be accepted into one of these programs, students must complete premedical courses in biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and math as undergraduates and hold a bachelorís degree. As long as prerequisite courses are completed, students with bachelorís degrees in any field can be granted admission. However, most students applying to these programs hold bachelorís degrees in math, physics, biology, chemistry, nursing, medical technology, respiratory therapy, and other allied health fields.

Certification
Founded in 1989, The National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA), provides a certification process for Anesthesiologist Assistants in the United States. the commission contracts with the National Board of Medical Examiners to assist with the certification process, including development of content grids, task analyses, item editing and writing, and administration of examinations. The certification process includes a 6-year cycle of certifying examination, examination for continued demonstration of qualifications, and registration of continuing medical education.

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