shutterstock_131910137 American anesthesiology reached a significant milestone last year, though many of us probably missed it at the time. In February, 2014, the number of nurse anesthetists in the United States for the first time exceeded the number of physician anesthesiologists. Not only are there more nurses than physicians in the field of anesthesia today, the number of nurses entering the field is ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. The health care landscape is changing, and now more than ever we as physicians should be focused on quality of care and ensuring the safety of our patients. Anesthesiology was the first medical specialty to champion patient safety as a specific focus. Over the past century, physician ...

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There have been huge advances in patient safety, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk when it comes to having surgery and anesthesia. Each year there are more than 100 million operations and procedures performed with anesthesia.  Doctors who specialize in anesthesia -- we’re known as physician anesthesiologists -- play a critical role in keeping patients safe and comfortable before, during, and after surgery. Before surgery, a physician anesthesiologist checks ...

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shutterstock_114588181 In medical school, I was taught to keep my distance. To remember that the patient is the one with the disease. I was told to protect my heart, to be a little cynical, a little deprecatory, to keep a separation between me and the patient. Because they can hurt you. For 18 years, I met people on what was arguably the worst ...

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Recently, the American College of Surgeons -- our profession's premier organization encompassing all surgical sub-specialties -- launched its updated website. Included in this website are online communities where surgeons from around the country and even further away, can connect. In my interpretation of these communities, surgeons can connect over shared subspecialty topics (e.g., colorectal surgery, general surgery, orthopedic surgery), shared clinical interests (e.g., ethics, geriatric surgery, surgical safety), or shared circumstances (e.g., surgeons practicing ...

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shutterstock_232948273 I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late! - The White Rabbit, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland It is in the very words, "running late." It is not walking late, or strolling late, or even meandering late. It is always running late, the phrase itself active, implying urgency and speed, rush and anxiety. The distress, just like the White Rabbit. The ...

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shutterstock_127360631 I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile, and finally, am going to spill some “secrets” about me and my colleagues. We are in debt. I mean, real debt. We are in debt. I mean, real debt. It actually costs most of us almost 1 million dollars to become your doctor. It has taken us a long time to get here. Let’s do some ...

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shutterstock_190343936 Help, I need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know I need someone, help! - The Beatles We are all here on earth to help each other; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.  - W. H. Auden “Help the doctor!” I’m sure most surgeons have heard this exasperated statement at some point in the operating room. It is said with that special mix of ...

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shutterstock_169002578 Last week, my best friend took the recertification exam in anesthesia, the so-called MOCA exam.  Like a good doobie, she paid her $2,100, paid her nanny extra so she could study, took a day off in which she missed the funeral of a friend’s husband, and took the test.  Wow, she must be the most awesome, most well-read, most skilled, most ...

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“Twilight! She has to have twilight,” insisted the adult daughter of my frail, 85-year-old patient. “She can’t have general anesthesia. She hasn’t been cleared for general anesthesia!” We were in the preoperative area of my hospital, where my patient -- brightly alert, with a colorful headband and bright red lipstick -- was about to undergo surgery. Her skin had broken down on both legs due to poor circulation in her veins, ...

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