Anaesthesiologists: RESPECT

Anaesthesiologists get a lot of flack, don’t they?

They might have the most jokes about them on the internet (but I don’t have the time to research and verify that). And I’ve given them some of my own flack before, for sending me to sleep during lectures.

Oh oh, and have you heard this one? (You probably have.)

The ABCs of Anaesthesia:

Airway, Book, Chair


Airway, Bagel, Coffee

They are  kind of funny, but I think the problem is that we start to think that these jokes are based on fact. And maybe they partially are (as all medical jokes), because during my horrible General Surgery rotation in third year, I never met a nice anaesthetist.

But this year has been a little different.

I have seen anaesthetists offer to assist when there were too few hands on deck. It is not their job, but they did it.

They have offered me footstools when the surgeon is too tall (which invariably happens) and let me stand on their side so that I could see what was going on on the table.

They have tutored me during inductions, which is great because my Anaesthesia rotation is later this year and I am very worried about it.

During Gynaecology, we had a “perfect storm” patient who inexplicably went into DIC. The anaesthetist on duty was incredibly young and I was so impressed by her calm demeanour and how quickly she got CVPs and A-lines in place. That was also the first time I saw someone actually squeezing a bag of FFPs to get it into the patient quicker.

Currently on Paediatric Surgery, I have not seen an anaesthetist be antisocial once. Their attention is always on the child. They keep the mood in the OR light, which makes it a lot less stressful for poor little med student (and for the surgeons too, I’m sure). They don’t just put the patient to sleep, they keep them alive too. Surgeons aren’t the only ones who do that.

I knew that anaesthesia was not easy, but I definitely have a new-found respect for them. And they have nice hours, too. Lucky buggers.


  1. crankygiraffe says:

    You know, we make fun of them, but in addition to what you said, they can get the line when no one else can… They can get the airway when no one else can… They might do crosswords when the patient is asleep, but they make up for it when they mean business!

    1. Exactly! We had some incredibly sick NEC-babies, and every time we thought, “okay this is the last straw, we will have to place an intraosseous line now” the aneasthetists came to our rescue and managed to get a line up. Super incredible.

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