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Anesthesiology is the medical specialty concerned with the total perioperative care of patients before, during and after surgery. It encompasses anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine and pain medicine.
All physicians, no matter their field of special interest, will encounter patients with acute episodes of cardiovascular, respiratory or central nervous system depression or dysfunction. They must be able to recognize these problems and promptly institute the measures necessary to provide life support for them.
A multi-disciplinary teaching approach offers many advantages in preparing doctors to properly care for these individuals. Anesthesiologists can provide expert management and counsel across specialties, from daily contact with patients whose central nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular systems have been electively depressed.
As part of a care team, they can help students acquire the practical knowledge and clinical skills needed while on the obstetrical, surgical, medical and pediatric services. In addition, an anesthetized patient can provide a model for learning how to recognize and treat some of these associated problems.