It is easy to get confused between these two terms and end up using one when you meant to use the other. Both are similar and mean the same thing but there are slight differences that one needs to pay attention to in order to understand the proper usage of these terms.
Anaesthetists are medical personnel, typically registered nurses, with extensive training specific to the administration of anesthesia to patients. During medical procedures, they adjust the patient’s dosage of anesthesia to keep them stabilized. They also take care of the patients before and after the said procedure is complete and perform all the tasks like other nurses. i.e., general care of the patient. This includes helping patients recover from the anesthesia as well.
Anesthesiologists, on the other hand, are licensed physicians with a specialization in anesthesiology which is a branch of medical science that deals with anesthesia, intensive care, and pain management. For preoperative care, they provide anesthesia which is administered to the patients by the nurse anaesthetists. During the procedure, they monitor the patient’s vitals and provide a combination of medicines accordingly. However, they do not provide general care to the patients like nurses.
Nurse Anaesthetists are required to acquire both bachelor’s as well as master’s degrees in nursing before commencing the special training as an anesthetist. They need to register as nurses as well.
A person aiming to become an Anesthesiologist is supposed to acquire a bachelor’s degree in a field like Pre-medicine first, in order to enrol in medical school. There they can either get a medical doctor’s degree or a degree in osteopathic medicine. They are then required to train through a residency program where they can pick subspecialties like Critical care medicine, Obstetrics Anethisiology, Clinical Informatics, etc. After the end of their residency, they are eligible to get their license to practice as Anesthesiologists.
The Nurse Anesthetists perform the task of assisting the Anesthesiologists during surgeries, though some of them do work independently. They follow the instructions of their supervisor and help them in monitoring the patient’s vitals and adjusting the dose of anesthesia to keep them stable throughout the procedure.
Anesthesiologists supervise the nurse anesthetists while they administer anesthesia to patients, mostly during surgeries, and make sure that the dosage administered is enough to keep the patient unconscious.
There are several places where there is a need for an Anaesthetist, like outpatient care centres, doctor’s offices, Dentist clinics, and of course, hospitals. At these places, they can administer regional anesthesia, general anesthesia and sedation.
However, an Anesthesiologist usually works in operating units. They also take care of patients who suffer from chronic acute pain, the women going through labour or the patients in the intensive care unit.
Even though the jobs of both types of professionals are similar and they work in the same industry, there are still differences that set them apart, as mentioned above. However, despite their different status, they play a vital role in the healthcare department and their contribution is invaluable.