A Career in Anaesthesia

Why become an Anaesthetist?

As one of the largest hospital specialities that answer is very varied!

  • It is very much a hands-on practical specialty. Routine practical skills acquired include tracheal intubation and insertion of arterial lines, central lines etc. The use of local anaesthetic techniques including epidurals, spinals and other nerve blocks are a routine part of anaesthetic practice.
  • The variety of work that an anaesthetist can choose. Anaesthetists are involved in diverse areas such chronic pain, obstetrics, ITU, paediatric cardiology, invasive radiology and of course, the core discipline of operative surgery.
  • An interest in physiological sciences. Anaesthetists acquire an in-depth understanding of applied physiology and pharmacology
  • The challenge of looking after the critically ill
  • An interest in teaching. Anaesthetists play a major role in teaching both medical and non-medical staff. They are instructors on courses such as ATLS, ALS, APLS; are involved in simulator training and of course teach their own trainees.
  • The ease of working part time
  • An interest in research. One of the attractions of the Welsh School of Anaesthesia is the very strong academic department at the University Hospital of Wales

'Anaesthesia merges all the reasons I wanted to become a doctor: advanced understanding of basic science; communicating with patients and their loved ones; performing intricate clinical skills; relieving pain; teaching others, and continually expanding my own knowledge and understanding'

'Anaesthetics is a very varied speciality. You never know what each day is going to hold - relieving pain on labour ward, resuscitating a sick patient in ITU or participating in an elective theatre list or chronic pain clinic. There is something for everyone. You could for instance be providing pain relief for a mother in childbirth on the labour ward and then later be anaesthetising a fit healthy football player with damaged knee ligaments'

'Want to find out more?'

Welsh Anaesthetic Shadowing Programme -WASP

WASP was founded in 2014. It is an initiative that was set up to allow easy access to medical students and foundation trainees to Anaesthetic training

The WASP coordinator is usually a Core Trainee and is the contact point for medical students and foundation trainees. They co-ordinate 3-5 day programmes of 'Anaesthetic taster days'. These days give exposure to anaesthesia and allow hands on experience in 'The day in the Life of an Anaesthetist". The aim of this is to show students the many varied roles of anaesthetists in the hospital, which is difficult to obtain as an undergraduate.
The anaesthetic tasters are also an effective way of gaining points at interviews for anaesthetic jobs and 'one to one' consultant teaching and advice on the application process.
Students will rotate between emergency theatre and on-call duties, elective short-stay surgery, intensive care, specialist anaesthesia in paediatrics, obstetrics, neurosurgery and cardiac surgery. The feedback from all students has been 100% positive.

Please contact the WASP coordinator on welshanaesthesiashadowing@gmail.com who will arrange a taster week for you or via the Deputy Programme Director for Anaesthesia for North Wales, Dr Mark Knights on mark.knights@wales.nhs.uk