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Anesthesiologists needed in Tucson area

Posted at 5:27 PM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-04 14:05:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Anesthesiologists are who patients meet when they undergo surgery. The anesthesiologists, typically make sure we don’t feel a thing when under the knife and wake us up after.

When you search job openings in the Tucson area for anesthesiologists dozens of job openings appear.

“It seems that there's likely a little bit of a shortage. I think nationally there's somewhat of a shortage of anesthesia providers, whether at the physician level or the CRNA level. Part of it is just the nature of our medical training,” said Dr. Jeremy Chastain, an assistant professor in a clinical track with the department of anesthesiology at UArizona.

He explained there are also a limited number of trainees of the practice each year.

"Because of that, that limits how many trainees are certified as anesthesiologists each year. The overall number of surgeries continues to increase but the number of trainees accepted into these residency programs isn't really increasing and so that kind of makes for a shortage,” he said.

He explained it’s still a hands-on learning experience for medical students.

The trend medical providers have seen over the past eight months is a drop in surgeries, while under a freeze in elective surgeries, and then an uptick once elective surgeries were able to resume.

“Part of the problem with that kind of hiatus that we took a little bit there [during] the early period of the COVID pandemic. It's now causing a backlog in some of the cases. In a way, we actually have more work to do than we did before," he said.

Anesthesiologists do more than what meets the eye. In fact, their field has several sub-specialties, such as childbirth and delivery, pain management, and even ICU care. ICU care was a sub-specialty that has been used during the pandemic.

“Let’s say a patient had a big surgery [and] they need to have a little bit closer monitoring than just a floor type of a setting where nurses are down the hall [or] say the patient needs someone a little closer eye on them for that next day or two. That's the type of setting whereas an anesthesia trained ICU provider would cover that type of a patient,” he explained.

Doctor Chastain said although some can feel they are being spread thin, one of the nice things about practice is once you’re done with your tasks for the day you can unplug.