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Anesthesiologist Advantages & Disadvantages

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There are pros and cons to every job, and a career in anesthesiology is no exception. Though the pay is excellent, the hours can be long and the pressure intense if something goes wrong with a patient. Examine both the pros and cons before starting your career journey to make sure the job is a good match for you.

The Pros

Anesthesiologists enjoy excellent pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of anesthesiologists was $235,070 in 2013. Many anesthesiologists also like helping patients and being able to focus on one patient at a time. Anesthesiologists work with a variety of patients, both young and old, without having to maintain their own office, since they work in hospitals and other facilities. They also generally have fewer complications to deal with than physicians who must worry about post-operative swelling, infection and other issues.


Anesthesiologists who do their jobs well are often forgotten by patients who were asleep during the procedure, making the job a potentially thankless one. Patients may not remember a job well done, but they will remember a problem. Anesthesiologists must carry liability insurance and may be sued for malpractice. Scheduling can be an issue, too, since hospitals and emergency care facilities need anesthesiologists around the clock. Overnights spent on-call are common, as is working late when a surgery takes longer than anticipated. Anesthesiologists sometimes find themselves in a weak position when negotiating salaries as well. The reputations of surgeons and other doctors are what draw patients to a facility -- not anesthesiologists, which may leave them making slightly less than their peers.