The 5Cs of a Great Anesthesiologist - NYSORA

Explore NYSORA knowledge base for free:

The 5Cs of a Great Anesthesiologist

When Dr. Hadzic’s students ask him whether they should become an anesthesiologist, they are a bit taken aback when he replies “Do you have what it takes?” They are surprised because, like many people, they have only a vague idea of what an anesthesiologist actually does, and what is required of them. Read on to learn more about what Dr. Hadzic looks for in his students.

There are 5 character traits that a competent anesthesiologist must possess: And you need all five!

Even if just one of these is missing, then I don’t think Anesthesiology is for you!!

The decision to become an Anesthesiologist is not a decision to be taken lightly, and I explain why in the video:

  1. Commitment

Why commitment? Is it not the same as motivation? 

Motivation depends on external factors. If you’re looking for external rewards from others – fame and recognition – then you will be disappointed.

You see, while the surgeon is the star of the show – and I’d say rightly so, for that is why the patient came for surgery- the anesthesiologist works in the bacda

kground to set the stage and provide a safe and secure environment to make the operation possible.

Commitment comes from within. Even when you are not recognized by others for your vital contribution, your reward, as an anesthesiologist, comes from what drives you – the satisfaction of knowing that you save lives, on a daily basis. To do that you must be committed to mastery of your craft and to being the best you can be at any moment. Patients’ lives depend on your skills!

And you don’t just save lives one day, and then sit back. You come back and save lives the next day and the day after that, and so on, right throughout your career. That takes commitment.

So, commitment means to be self-motivated – to be always learning, always improving, and always striving to be on top of your game.

  1. Courage

Saving lives requires courage.

It’s no coincidence that the OR is also known as “theater” and you, as the anesthesiologist, are at the center of the drama. The surgeon may be in the spotlight as they perform the intervention, but from the moment you administer anesthesia, that patient‘s life is, quite literally, in your hands.

Knowing that requires courage.

At a basic human level, it’s hard to describe the enormity of the responsibility involved when a patient says “goodbye” to their loved ones and walks in to put their life in your hands.

That fully functioning, walking, talking human being puts their trust in you. They trust that you will administer chemicals, which are potentially lethal, at just the right dose, so that they are insensitive to pain throughout the surgical procedure. A few minutes after you administer the potent medications, the patients are immobilized, unable to walk or talk. They are defenseless, completely vulnerable, and dependent on you to keep them alive, and, from that moment on, they are your responsibility.

That responsibility is enormous, but while you are aware of it, you also cannot allow yourself to be in awe or paralyzed by it.

Fear may send others into a state of panic, but you, as the anesthesiologist, with a patient totally relying on you, must remain calm and in full command, so that you can focus on the well-being of the patient.

And that focus must remain alert and able to draw on all your knowledge and cumulative experience, to quickly assess and anticipate situations and conditions, so that you can make the right decisions under pressure.

There’s no backup, no mentor in the room, and no time to pause and reflect.

Anesthesiology is not something you can just fall into and see how it goes. The root of the word “courage” means “heart”, and you should not choose anesthesiology as a profession if your heart is not in it. (There are those who would say that you can practice anesthesiology even if your heart is not in it, and, of course, you can do anything! However, never mistake “can do” with “will do”. 

  1. Confidence

Confidence comes from knowing that you are in command of your skill set; that you are equipped with the most up-to-date knowledge and best practices, that you are in good physical shape, and that you are doing everything you can to be the best that you can be in your profession.

This is not a field where you can acquire training, then sit back.

If you are the kind of person who prefers to make decisions over time, and you like to reflect, consider and confer over a few hours or days, then you would not survive long in Anesthesiology. You would be exposing yourself to enormous amounts of stress on a daily basis.

Anesthesiology is a field that demands instant decision-making. It requires that you are constantly learning and improving and that your knowledge and skills are so deeply etched that they can be called upon and relied upon at any moment. To maintain that confidence you must be a life-long learner, always honing and mastering your craft.

  1. Consistency

The theory is not enough. You can spend a lifetime acquiring the knowledge and learning about the principles, but at the end of the day, anesthesiology is a practice; you need to possess the necessary physical traits and you need to practice them regularly to develop consistency.

A competent anesthesiologist must have excellent manual dexterity, good hand-to-eye coordination, and a steady hand.

Anesthesiology is not for you if you are clumsy or prone to nervousness. You cannot afford to be all fingers and thumbs when it comes to swiftly inserting a needle in the correct position under pressure.

And it’s not enough to just possess these skills, they must be practiced. Just as talented athlete or musician knows they have to practice playing scales, modes, chords, or certain exercises, even their greatest talents can get a little rusty when they are out of practice. If you are committed to being a great anesthesiologist, then you must be committed to maintaining your competence- anesthesiologist needs regular practice to exercise and maintain their physical skills and techniques so that they are consistently delivering their best work.

  1. Charisma

An anesthesiologist must be able to lead a team, and a good leader must have charisma.

Charisma is trust in yourself – it’s about having complete trust in your faculties, abilities, knowledge, and skills so that you KNOW you are equipped to the highest level to offer the highest level of service.

That absolute trust in yourself is what makes a great leader, for when you trust yourself, others will trust you and want to follow you.

In the operating room, there is no time to question or debate, so the smooth functioning of the team depends on mutual trust for successful performance.