The secret life of an anaesthetist: if surgeons are the blood, we are the brains

The Guardian – Doctors: The secret life| Published online: 12 September 2016

L0028350 An anaesthetist standing, his equipment behind him. Colour l

Image source: Virginia Powell – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

By Anonymous

You have to get used to being invisible as an anaesthetist. A large percentage of the public has no idea that we’re medically qualified. I’ve been asked how many GCSEs you need to be an anaesthetist. In fact our training is as long as that of a surgeon. It takes seven years of specialist studies after you’ve already completed two years of basic general training; and that’s after five or six years at medical school.

Patients always remember the name of their surgeon, never that of their anaesthetist. But it’s still a hugely rewarding job. We’re everywhere in the hospital. In theatre obviously, but also in intensive care, on the wards, in the emergency department, and in the pain clinic, with those who are really suffering. We assess people’s fitness for surgery, how likely they are to suffer complications, and support them through the operation itself and into the postoperative period.

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