South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday December 12, 2017
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February 2009 - Volume 5 - Issue 8

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Who are the Members of the Anesthesia Care Team?

Anesthesia Care Team, also known as ACT, is a team composed of the Anesthesiologist, Anesthesiologist Assistant or Nurse Anesthetist and the Anesthesia Technician to keep patients pain free and calm during surgical procedures. The team is lead by an Anesthesiologist who is a physician that has completed 12 or more years of education and training and who is responsible for all final decisions. The Anesthesiologist supervises the Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAs), who hold a Master's Degree, Nurse Anesthetists (NAs), who also who hold a Master's Degree and the Anesthesia Technicians (ATs), who have a certification that can be obtained with a high school education.

Although both Nurse Anesthetists and Anesthesiologist Assistants earn Master's Degrees in Science their education is quite different. The Nurse Anesthetist education consists of six years of training in the medical field with at least 1 year of critical care experience and 26 months of anesthesia training. The Anesthesiologist Assistant must obtain a Bachelor's degree, preferably in a science related field (but not mandatory), and must complete specific medical prerequisites with outstanding grade point averages and high GRE or MCAT scores. There is no requirement to have patient care experience prior to beginning the course but once accepted in an AA program, the Anesthesiologist Assistant will endure a rigorous 27 month program, earn a Master of Science in Anesthesia and will eventually take the Certifying Examination for Anesthesiologist Assistants. The salary for NAs and AAs are comparable with earning potential of $110,000 to $150,000 annually. Anesthesia Technicians are an entry level anesthesia provider in the ACT model and are supervised by AAs, NAs and RNs. The average Anesthesia Technician salary is 32,000.

There are currently six schools within the Continental US proving the education and training to Anesthesiologist Assistants, with the newest being the Nova Southeastern University Tampa Student Educational Center which announced plans to offer its AA program in Tampa beginning in June 2009. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine is the newest AA program west of the Mississippi River with the implementation of their charter class in January 2008.

The need for the "Anesthesia Care Team" model has risen dramatically due to the growth and aging of our population combined with the provider's needs to cut costs while maintain high quality of care.

Christopher Green is President of AnestaWeb, Inc. For more information, e-mail AAprogram@gmail.com or visit www.AnesthesiaAssistant.com. More information about these anesthesia professions can be found at AnesthesiologistAssistant.com and AnesthesiaTechnician.com.
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