One career that has interested me is that of an anesthesiologist, a specialist whose main duty is to “plan, perform, and maintain a patient’s anesthesia during surgical, obstetric, or other medical procedures” (Hayes, 17). This means that an anesthesiologist must review a patient’s medical history in order to select the best drug to administer before the patient undergoes a medical procedure. The patient is numbed by the anesthetic administered by the anesthesiologist, and he must act as a caretaker for the patient as the procedure goes on. For example, the anesthesiologist frequently measures the patient’s “blood pressure, breathing, heart rate and body temperature throughout surgery” (18).
In addition, the anesthesiologist ensures that no mishaps occur when the medical procedure is taking place by orienting the patient in such a way that will facilitate the surgeon’s job. Although most of an anesthesiologist’s work takes place in the operating room, he or she talks with the patient before the procedure happens in order to explain the drug that will be administered. Therefore, an anesthesiologist also serves as a sort of counselor, who comforts the patient before their procedure and answers any questions that may arise. Some anesthesiologists lead anesthesia care teams, consisting of “anesthesiology residents, nurse anesthetists, and anesthesiologist assistants” (19). All of these members of the care team have tasks to complete, directed by the anesthesiologist.
An anesthesiologist has to attend to all of these duties with precision because a patient’s life in on the line. It is not surprising, then, that the salary range of an anesthesiologist averages “$190,000 per year” (23). According to an article by CNNMoney published in 2009, the median salary earned by an anesthesiologist is $292,000, with $408,000 being the highest salary.
In terms of job advancement, anesthesiologists can become administrators of certain programs or departments as they progress in experience. It is not uncommon to find anesthesiologists teaching at medical schools as well. Because anesthesiology requires so much preparation and training, many anesthesiologists will stay with the same hospital for the remainder of their careers (23). In addition to working in hospitals, anesthesiologists can work in settings outside of the hospital, such as in standalone clinics as well as in a practice. According to Hayes, anesthesiology is a lucrative career to consider because it “is one of the fastest growing medical specialties” (23).
A specific hospital that I have actually visited (other than for physicals and check-ups) is Moore Regional Hospital of FirstHealth of the Carolinas. It is located in the town of Pinehurst, North Carolina, and the only reason I have gone there is because my grandparents live in that town. I usually visit my grandparents in the summer, and over the past summer I volunteered at the hospital. I was disappointed that I wasn’t allowed...