Anesthesia specialists are responsible for making informed medical
decisions about your care. They provide comfort and maintain vital life functions while you are
getting anesthesia and are in recovery.
They include anesthesiologists and qualified nurse
or dental anesthetists.
Anesthesiologists are medical doctors. They have
medical degrees and have completed internships. Then they get 3 more years
of specialized training in an accredited anesthesiology residency program. They
are certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. As doctors, they
have a wide range of knowledge about medicines and care for diseases. They know
how the human body works and how it responds to the stress of surgery.
Most anesthetists are nurses. They have graduated from an accredited
nurse anesthetist program. Most have been certified by the American
Association of Nurse Anesthetists to become a certified registered nurse
anesthetist (CRNA). They are advanced practice nurses with
special skills in administering anesthesia. Some of them are
supervised by an anesthesiologist or a surgeon. But law and practice may
vary by state.
Anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) graduate with a masters degree. They are certified by the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA). They have special knowledge of anesthesia drugs and techniques. AAs are supervised by an anesthesiologist. They can administer anesthesia.