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The Role of the Anaesthetist

Anaesthesia blocks the sensation of pain for patients undergoing surgical and other medical procedures. This can involve reducing consciousness so that memories are not formed. This can also involve numbing nerves so that patients are unable to feel pain but remain awake. A common example of this is providing epidurals for women in labour for childbirth.

Anaesthetists are also involved in the resuscitation and care of critically ill patients (for example, those with some degree of organ failure) in hospitals as well as in out-of-hospital settings.

Anaesthesia is a highly specialised area of medicine, and it takes many years to achieve employment in this crucial field.

  1. All specialist anaesthetists are medical doctors. Prospective anaesthetists must first complete either a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)or Doctor of Medicine (MD), which typically takes four to six years to complete.
  2. Once they have received a medicine degree, prospective anaesthetists must work in the public hospital system for at least two years, completing both an internship and residency.
  3. Finally, aspiring anaesthetists in Australia become a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). This takes at least five years of study while working as a doctor. Subspecialty areas of anaesthesia require further training.

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Established in 1934, the Australian Society of Anaesthetists is a peak not-for-profit representative body of anaesthesia in Australia.

ASA acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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