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August 14, 2012

Anesthesiologist Assistant Career Information

Filed under: Anesthesiologist Assistant Career — admin @ 7:07 pm

One of the fastest growing job titles in the U.S. health care landscape is a middle ground between doctors and nurses called the anesthesiologist assistant (AA).

In an operating room, AA’s work directly under the supervision of an anesthesiologist, helping to administer anesthesia for basic procedures and even surgeries such as advanced cardiac care, lung biopsies and liver transplants.

Medical professionals in a handful of states have worked as anesthesiologist assistants for 30 years, but the current shortage of health care providers has pushed the specialty to new heights of popularity. To address a critical shortage of anesthesiologists, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommended in 2003 that hospitals hire more Anesthesiologist Assistants to fill the gap.

The endorsement sparked a sudden growth in the profession, and Anesthesiologist Assistants are now licensed to practice in 18 states. As recently as 2006, Nova Southeastern University in Florida launched the fourth AA training program in the United States, with a founding class of 34 students. That same year, there were about 900 AAs working nationwide, an increase of 200 people since 2001, according to Anesthesiology News magazine. In the field, Anesthesiologist Assistants account for 1 to 3 percent of all U.S. anesthesia providers, the magazine said. With so few trained professionals, demand is soaring for recent graduates. “Anesthesiologist assistants receive between 15 and 20 job offers each, and that continues to be the case for our incoming class at Nova.

Our students have been contacted by anesthesia groups even prior to matriculation, and several have already accepted jobs in the state of Florida,” Robert Wagner, director of the AA program at Nova, told the magazine. As more Anesthesiologist Assistants enter the workforce, healthcare providers continue to debate their most appropriate role in the hospital. Most agree that anesthesia departments need more staff, and that hiring Anesthesiologist Assistants is a faster and less expensive solution than adding more doctor-level anesthesiologists to every department. At the government level, states disagree on the scope of responsibilities that licensed Anesthesiologist Assistants should be allowed to perform. Like many other medical technicians, Anesthesiologist Assistants fall somewhere between doctors and nurses in their education and training.

Various hospitals call anesthesiologist assistants “nonphysician providers” or “physician extenders.” And inside hospitals, some administrators seek to define Anesthesiologist Assistants’ responsibilities more closely to avoid overlapping duties with other medical professionals. For example, most anesthesiologist assistants have the same range of practice as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and comparable pay.

The main difference is that AAs must work as part of an anesthesia care team under the direction of an anesthesiologist, while a CRNA can sometimes practice independently, according to Anesthesiology News. The job description of anesthesiologist assistants will continue to evolve, but the young profession appears to be here to stay. Recent graduates find increasing acceptance of their growing role in anesthesia departments around the country. “Ten years ago, we weren’t really on the map. Now we’re operating in different states, and more people are aware of what we can do,” Joe Mader, an AA at a hospital in Ohio, told the magazine. Mader works in a physician group with four anesthesiologists, four certified registered nurse anesthetists and another three Anesthesiologist Assistants. By MiracleWorkers

1 Comment »

  1. Nice Article.

    Looking forward to more information

    Comment by AA — August 14, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

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