Essential Skills for an Anesthesiologist Nurse

Posted in Career Blog

An anesthesiologist nurse works directly with the anesthesiologist and the patient in order to provide the best care and patient experience possible. As such, there are certain skills you will need to learn and hone in order to be successful in this career choice.

Nursing Skills

First and foremost, your roles and responsibilities as an anesthesiologist nurse start with your basic nursing abilities. Aside from the standard education required to become a registered nurse, you will need to take courses in things such as pathophysiology in anesthesia, pharmacology, and the professional aspects of the practice. This way, you will gain the skills you need to provide services to both your patients and other healthcare personnel. You will play a large role in the patient’s surgical experience as you will likely be the last face the patient sees before going to sleep and the first face the patient sees upon waking up again. You will need to carefully monitor the patient’s vital signs and administer pain medications as necessary.

Leadership and Teamwork

As an anesthesiologist nurse, you will have training that goes above and beyond the training received by the rest of the nursing staff. As a result, you will often be called upon to answer questions, particularly when the head anesthesiologist is not available. On the other hand, you will also be required to work with an entire team of individuals during a surgery, and each of you will be responsible for a different aspect of patient care at different times. For example, you may be charged with the task of monitoring the patient for changes during surgery. Should the patient go into shock, you will need teamwork skills to work with others in stabilizing the patient.

Decision-Making and Critical Thinking Skills

In many situations, you may find yourself monitoring a patient without the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist. If this is the case, you will need the critical thinking skills necessary to implement a course of action if something should go wrong. You will also need to be familiar with hundreds of different medications that may be used during surgery, how they can interact with anesthesia, and what to do in the event that the patient has a reaction to one of the medications that is administered. While patients typically provide a list of medications to which they are allergic in their medical histories, sometimes these allergies are not apparent until the patient has a reaction during surgery.

Communication Skills

You will be required to work with a vast network of people—surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, patients, patients’ families, specialists and even insurance providers—so your ability to communicate effectively is incredibly important. This is especially true in emergency situations; if the patient should have a reaction to the anesthesia during surgery, you will need to be able to immediately communicate the steps that should be taken to stabilize the patient. Conversely, you will likely be responsible for monitoring the patient in the recovery room and communicating the outcome of the surgery shortly after the patient wakes up.

All of the skills listed here are absolutely critical in order for you to be successful as an anesthesiologist nurse. Without any of these, patients’ lives may be at risk. You will need to work closely with the rest of the surgical team before, during and after the surgery to ensure the patients’ health and well-being.

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