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Anesthesiology/Courses needed for Anesthesiologists


Hi,My name is Sydney Deeter and I am in eighth grade doing a career project and I wanted to be a Anesthesiologist but I'm stuck. I can't find an accurate response. I'm trying to find what courses I would need to take in college and if there are any courses I can take in high school that will help me prepare for this career. I also wanted to know what you like least about this job? What personality label would you use to describe an anesthesiologist?: Doer, thinker, creator,helper, persuader, or organizer? Thanks!

Hi Sydney,

Check out the answer I gave Brad on 7/6/2011. In that response, I write about my take on the path to get into medical school.

I really like being an anesthesiologist, but it was not my first choice when I was in medical school. I really wanted to be a surgeon, and trained in it my first two years after graduating from medical school. In my case, my career plans changed through a assortment of circumstances, and I ended up choosing anesthesiology.

A lot of the things that I like about what I do I really didn't know about until I got out into the workplace. For example, my office is 12 feet by 12 feet, and I have a staff of one; that person manages my mail, hospital communications, billing, and scheduling with the hospitals. I don't see patients in a clinic, so I don't need to spend my income on a large waiting room or exam rooms like when you go to visit your pediatrician.  I only take care of one patient at a time...when they are about to have surgery. That means I can focus all of my attention on that one patient, and not be distracted by things like a waiting room full of patients.  I get to "do" stuff, like put in IV catheters, spinal injections, nerve blocks, and endotracheal tubes.  But I also have to "think" about stuff, like pharmacology and physiology. I would argue that sometimes I have to be a comforter...a lot of times, an anxious patient is most effectively comforted by my slowing down and talking to him or her. I suppose, then, that all of those personality labels could apply to an anesthesiologist.

Sometimes, the work hours stink. I have six other doctors in my group, and we take turns "on call." That means, if a surgeon has an emergency on the weekend or the middle of the night, the on call doctor has to come to the hospital to perform the anesthetic. So you might not have a weekend off or a full night's sleep.  But if you want to have a 9-to-5 weekday job, don't go into medicine. People get sick 24/7/365.

Good luck with your project!


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Arjav Shah, M.D.


I have a broad anesthetic experience in my Dallas practice, so I can answer most questions about anesthesia, but defer to other's expertise in chronic pain management


Board-certified in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, in practice since 1999. I have been in private practice in Dallas since 2001, and am a strong supporter of physician-only anesthesia.

Residency in Surgery and Anesthesiology at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at Wake Forest University

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