What is Anesthesiology?
Anesthesia comes from the Greek for “without sensation”. Induced for medical purposes such as surgery, anesthesia is a controlled state of temporary loss of sensation and/or awareness.
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, anesthesiology is the practice of medicine dedicated to the relief of pain and total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.
Anesthesiologists provide anesthesia services in several locations throughout the hospital and provide support to almost every other specialty. In addition to working in the operating room, anesthesiologists respond to code blues, perform emergency airway management and line placements and provide inpatient and outpatient pain consultation. Anesthesiologists provide care in locations such as the gastroenterology suite, the pulmonary clinic, labor and delivery, the interventional cardiology lab, the pediatric sedation unit, the emergency room, the trauma bay, radiation oncology, and the MRI and CT scanners.
How is Anesthesia training important to being a military physician?
USU is one of the only medical schools that requires an anesthesia clerkship for graduation. The reason for this requirement is that all USU graduates must be competent in emergency medical skills commonly performed by anesthesiologists such as airway management, obtaining intravenous access, and fluid resuscitation. After graduation, many graduates will find themselves in austere locations where they may be the only physician available to aid a sick or injured patient. Possessing the skills learned in the anesthesia clerkship will enable all USU graduates to stabilize patients in austere environments and evacuate them to higher levels of care. In addition, as a military physician assigned to military medical units you will likely educate soldiers and non-commissioned officers on skills such as basic airway management and obtaining intravenous access. Finally, given the small size of operational medicine units, CRNAs and Anesthesiologists are often operating as the only anesthesia provider in a military unit. As a military physician, you may need to assist the anesthesia provider with a difficult airway or massive resuscitation. The skills that you learn on your anesthesia clerkship will enable you to meet these demands regardless of your specialty and subspecialty training following graduation.
Robert Vietor, MD
Major, USA, MC