A specialist anaesthetist is a fully qualified medical doctor who, after obtaining their medical degree, has spent at least two years working in the hospital system before completing a further five years of training in anaesthesia.
Clinical anaesthesia is built on the knowledge of physiology (how the body works) and pharmacology (how medications work in the body). Anaesthetists have an extensive knowledge of medicine and surgery and understanding of the basic sciences. They know how the body responds to anaesthesia and surgery, and how a patient’s health affects these responses.
In Australia and New Zealand, anaesthesia training is supervised and accredited by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).
The training to become a specialist anaesthetist is equal in length to that of other medical specialists, such as surgeons, and includes intensive assessments, both at the hospitals where trainees work, and by written and verbal examinations. Doctors in the training program are called registrars
Your anaesthetist is responsible for:
- Agreeing to a plan for your anaesthetic, in consultation with you and your surgeon.
- Administering your anaesthetic, and monitoring you at all times during your surgery and making any changes necessary during and after surgery.
- Managing your pain relief after surgery
Your anaesthetist is part of a team, and works with the operating theatre staff, recovery staff, and nursing staff on the wards to care for you.