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An anesthesiologist (US English) or anaesthetist (British English) is a physician trained in anesthesia and perioperative medicine.

In Australia, A specialist anaesthetist is a fully qualified medical doctor who, after obtaining their medical degree, has spent at least two years working in the hospital system before completing a further five years of training in anaesthesia.

In the United States, the term anesthesiologist refers to a physician who completed an accredited residency program in anesthesiology, usually four years following medical school either with M.D. or D.O. degree. In contrast, the term anesthetist is used for nurse anesthesia providers who have undergone specialized training in anesthesia.

In the UK, most former Commonwealth countries and in Europe the term anaesthetist refers only to physicians (university graduates in medicine) specialised in anaesthetics. In a very few UK hospitals some duties are performed by non-physicians, Physicians' Assistants (Anesthesia), but only under physician anaesthetist supervision. PAAs have made very little impact in the UK and nationally recognised training schemes produce a very limited number of trained PAAs each year. In several European countries (e.g. Germany, Austria and in effect the UK) anesthesia is exclusively provided by physicians (1:1 ratio anaesthetist:patient), while anaesthetic nurses or anaesthetic technicians (ODPs - operating department practitioners in UK) assist the anaesthetist.

Anesthesiologists (anaesthetist in the UK) are physicians who provide medical care to patients in a wide variety of (usually acute) situations. This includes preoperative evaluation, consultation with the surgical team, creation of a plan for the anesthesia tailored to each individual patient, airway management, intraoperative life support and provision of pain control, intraoperative diagnostic stabilisation, proper post-operative management of patients. Outside the operating room, anesthesiologists/anesthesists spectrum of action includes with intrahospitalar or extrahospitalar emergencies, intensive care units, acute pain units and chronic pain consultations.

Fellows of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (equivalent to being a "Board Certified Anesthesiologist" in the USA) are permitted to use the post nominals FANZCA

Fellows of the Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons are permitted to use the post nominals FFARACS.

Related Organisations
Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA)
Australasian Trauma Society (ATS)
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