What they do

Anaesthetists administer anaesthesia that block the sensation of pain for patients undergoing surgery and related procedures. They safely render patients unconscious so that surgeons may perform operations without the patient being aware of, or feeling, any pain. They carefully assess a patient's requirements, administer anaesthesia, monitor a patient's vital signs during surgery and care for any patients who may have an adverse reaction to the anaesthesia.

Working conditions

Anaesthetists work in hospitals, day surgeries and at universities. They conduct most of their work in operating theatres or hospital rooms, which have strict hygiene and safety standards. It is important for anaesthetists to keep up-to-date on the development of the latest anaesthesia and relevant medical technology. Some anaesthetists work in teaching environments, or are required to assist in on-the-job training at hospitals. Anaesthetists are often on call, so work irregular hours.

Tools and technologies

Anaesthetists use complex medical machines that monitor patient's vital signs and administer anaesthesia. They also use a variety of pain maintenance drugs that they carefully tailor towards individual requirements. The use of these machines and the administration of anaesthesia can be highly complicated and therefore requires a great deal of precision and accuracy.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an anaesthetist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in anaesthetics.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To specialise in anaesthetics, doctors can apply to the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as an anaesthetist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.