The human body has a natural aversion to pain, which is probably the reason why most people are afraid to undergo any kind of surgery. Fortunately, advances in medical technology have introduced the concept and chemistry of anesthesia to help surgery patients cope with the pain of going under the knife.
However, there are far too many horror stories one hears and reads in the news. Some patients who are put under anesthesia narrate how things start to go horribly wrong while they are on the operating table. These stories have somehow fuel the intriguing question: when it comes to administering anesthesia, is it entirely necessary to get specialists with an M.D. at the end of their names to do it?
Anesthesiologist vs. Anesthetist: What’s the difference?
As defined by the Webster dictionary, an anesthesiologist is a specialized physician, while anesthetists are registered nurses who have undergone special training in handling anesthesia. Although both can be deemed as experts by any regular person when it comes to administering anesthesia, certified anesthesiologists are qualified by law to give it to patients, while anesthetists can only administer if they are supervised by the former.
For Northern California health care facilities and services, the debate in choosing an anesthesia medical group consisting solely of specialized physicians versus those that include certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) in their employee roster is still ongoing.
Who is better at giving patient care: M.D. or CRNA?
At first glance, it may seem that patient care between the two should not differ too much as both types of anesthesia specialists have the necessary experience to get the job done. This outlook is shared by the seventeen states, including Northern California, who have agreed to give their CRNA the freedom of administering the drug without any guided supervision of an anesthesiologist.
Though certain studies insist that there are no significant difference in overall surgical patient care regardless of who administers the anesthesia, most states and several progressive countries still maintain that experience and expertise are more pronounced with a specialist team made of doctors rather than those teams who let nurses work independently. The studies that promote independence for anesthetists are considered by most medical profession limited in scope and should be scrutinized further to know if the results are really valid.
Of course, as a healthcare provider, you would like to minimize the risks of unintentional complications brought upon by differences in the expertise and education of your anesthesia specialists. With this, it is still better to choose a medical group, like Medical Anesthesia Consultants (MAC), as a solid partner in your surgeries.
What is anesthesiology ? (an⁃es⁃the⁃si⁃ol⁃o⁃gy), cas.ca
Debate Over Who Should Be Allowed to Administer Anesthesia Moves to Courts, nytimes.com