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Anesthesiology/Becoming an Anesthesiologist

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Question
I am interested in becoming an anesthesiologist, and will be heading to college this fall to major in chemistry. I have a few questions, and was looking for some answers on the education process.

1)I realize that there are several ways to be qualified to administer anesthesia; why did you decided to become a Nurse Anesthetist over a M.D. or D.O.?

2)What courses in your undergraduate studies prepared you for the administering of anesthesia?

3)Do you believe the administering of anesthesia to be more hands on or mental?

4)Is there more contact with mucus or blood in anesthesia?

5)Why is it necessary to use a breathing tube compared to using a mask?

6)In your opinion, what is the most stressful part of administering anesthesia?

7)Do you prefer working in an outpatient center or a hospital? What are the benefits and disadvantages to working in each?

8)What is the typical policy for an anesthesiologist and taking a sabbatical?

Answer
Hi Amy

Thanks for the question(s)! Sorry for the delay I was on call.

"1)I realize that there are several ways to be qualified to administer anesthesia; why did you decided to become a Nurse Anesthetist over a M.D. or D.O.?"

I initially was interested in med school, took the pre med classes, MCAT and was accepted to medical school when i realized I did not really want to be a physician. During my med school interview process I discovered Nurse Anesthesia and felt it would both meet my goals and provide the 'next step' challenge I was looking for.

"2)What courses in your undergraduate studies prepared you for the administering of anesthesia?"

I can say with absolute honesty that none of the pre med classes i took and none of the nursing school classes I took helped prepare me for anesthesia. What really helped was my experience as a flight nurse and an ER/ICU RN. Taking care of sick patients day in and day out, placing chest tubes, central lines, intubations etc has really translated DIRECTLY to anesthesia.

"3)Do you believe the administering of anesthesia to be more hands on or mental?"

Anesthesia is filled with many procedures and skills such as central lines, blocks, epidurals/spinals and intubations. These however anyone can do given practice. Where the rubber meets the road in anesthesia is most certainly the ability for the practitioner to critically think about what is going, see the bigger picture and act. So id say it is a little of both but knowledge and experience are what play the biggest roles.

"4)Is there more contact with mucus or blood in anesthesia?"

Well we often deal with the mouth of a patient so in that regard yes. Blood? Not as much.

"5)Why is it necessary to use a breathing tube compared to using a mask?"

This is a complex question which would require alot of space to discuss. In short it is a mix of the medical conditions of the patient and the requirements of the surgery.

"6)In your opinion, what is the most stressful part of administering anesthesia?"

In anesthesia we take a person as close to death as they can get and bring them back. This is an awesome responsibility and both the patients and their families are relying on me to do this successfully.

"7)Do you prefer working in an outpatient center or a hospital? What are the benefits and disadvantages to working in each?"

I work in both independently. They are very different and i enjoy both equally for different reasons.

"8)What is the typical policy for an anesthesiologist and taking a sabbatical?"

You would have to ask an anesthesiologist. I can say this does NOT happen outside academic settings.

Hope this helps!

Anesthesiology

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Mike MacKinnon MSN FNP-C CRNA

Expertise

I am a former Trauma Flight RN now a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs). I can help answer questions on the CRNA profession and clinical anesthesia. I work full time as an independent practice CRNA and have a special interest in regional anesthesia, particularly peripheral nerve blocks. I also teach ultrasound regional anesthesia and lecture all over the country. If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you.

Experience

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist who works as an independent/autonomous practitioner. There are often questions about my profession and I would like to offer the service of an actual CRNA. If you did not know, there are about 40000 of us which equates to 50% of the anesthesia providers in the USA today. I also lecture and teach ultrasound regional anesthesia all over the country.

Organizations
AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists)
IARS (International Anesthesia Research Society) AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners)

Publications
Air Medical Transport Journal
OutPatient Surgery Magazine


Education/Credentials
Bachelors of Science in Nursing
Masters in Nursing
Family Nurse Practitioner
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)


Awards and Honors
Excellence in anesthesia education award

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