Medical doctors who specialize in anesthesiology may expect to earn some of the highest salaries in the field. Anesthesiology for children is one of the most satisfying subspecialties within that discipline.
Most of what general and pediatric anesthesiologists do is provide the drugs that dull pain or cause unconsciousness during medical procedures such as surgery and diagnostic tests.
In contrast, pediatric anesthesiologists specialize in the care of children, whereas general anesthesiologists treat adults.
Focus on Pediatric Patients
Children of various ages can be sedated by pediatric anesthesiologists, including newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school students, and even teens.
According to the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, pediatric anesthesiologists often treat children as young as neonates and as old as 21, depending on the procedure.
An anesthesiologist who is able to promptly and securely give the correct anesthetic for a child’s emergency surgery, such as an appendectomy in a young kid who develops appendicitis or surgery for an intestinal blockage in a newborn, is crucial.
According to the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, anesthesia is also utilized for non-emergent operations such as inguinal hernia repair, cleft lip repair, and cataract extraction.
A child’s ability to eat, speak, and use the bathroom normally might be adversely affected by a medical problem that isn’t treated early enough.
Differences in Children and Adults’ Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Behavior
When it comes to children, they aren’t merely little versions of their parents. Because they are still developing, children’s bodies are physically and physiologically distinct from those of adults.
Anesthesiologists can’t always establish doses for anesthesia, analgesia, and sedatives by dividing the number of drugs they would give an adult by the child’s weight.
Pediatric patients, particularly babies, are more susceptible to the hazards of anesthesia during surgery due to factors such as an increased rate of oxygen desaturation, the American Society of Anesthesiologists stated.
If you’re looking for a general anesthesiologist to deliver anesthesia to a child, you’re going to have to have specialized training in pediatric anesthesiology.
Behaviorally, pediatric patients are also distinct from adult patients. The youngest patients a pediatric anesthesiologist treats, for example, are incapable of vocal communication or following instructions.
An anesthesiologist may not be able to understand what a child is saying even though he or she is able to speak verbally.
It’s also possible that kids are terrified of having surgery or other procedures. Working with children and their families requires strong interpersonal skills, which include the ability to comfort them and quickly establish a relationship.
This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Anesthesia for children may require different equipment and systems than anesthesia for adults.
Pediatric Anesthesiology Career Preparation
Anesthesiologists who specialize in pediatrics must undergo significant training due to the vast age and developmental range of the patients that they serve.
Providing anesthesia to a 19-year-old and a baby are two very different situations, yet in this field of medicine, you must be able to treat both patients with the same set of abilities.
Working and studying hard for years to become a pediatric anesthesiologist is not an easy task.
According to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the majority of medical specialties require three to four years of residency training following medical school.
They spend at least five years and up to nine years in training for pediatric anesthesiologists to complete their internships/residency/fellowship programs.
A pediatric anesthesiology fellowship is often achieved by completing a residency in either pediatrics or anesthesiology before completing an internship.
In order to be certified as a pediatric anesthesiologist in five years, you may need to be admitted into a residency program that has received special clearance from the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Anesthesiology.
Only a small percentage of doctors are truly proficient in both fields of medicine. Pediatric anesthesiology and critical care fellowship training require two distinct residencies in pediatrics and anesthesia.
No one goes into medical school with the goal of becoming an anesthesiologist in children’s hospitals.
As a result of their studies and clinical rotations, many pediatric anesthesiologists discover that the areas of anesthesia and pediatrics are a good match for them.