Anesthesia Care Team Members

By Joseph F. Answine, M.D. and F. Horng, MD

Physician anesthesiologist: 

Is a medical doctor who has gone through medical school which amounts to 12-14 years after high school education and anywhere from 12,000-16,000 hours of patient care training. The breadth of courses plus the duration and course of coursework allow for detailed comprehensive medical knowledge and technical airway management skills used diagnose and treat acute and chronic medical complications effectively.

Learn about anesthesiologists and other questions at the American Society of Anesthesiologists website: What does an Anesthesiologist do?


A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA):

Is a registered nurse who has completed a training program in nurse anesthesia
Most commonly works under the supervision of a physician anesthesiologist in DC hospitals, and in 45 states including Maryland and Virginia.

A Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant (CAA):

Is a medical professional who has completed an anesthesiologist assistant training program
Works under the supervision of a physician anesthesiologist.

A Student Nurse Anesthetist:

Is a registered nurse who is enrolled in a nurse anesthesia training program
 According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Statement of An Anesthesia Care Team: “… the use of non-physician students in place of fully trained and credentialed anesthesia personnel is not endorsed as best practice by the American Society of Anesthesiologists”

A Student Anesthesiologist Assistant:

Is a health professional who is enrolled in an accredited anesthesiologist assistant training program and, therefore, has completed the necessary coursework required for enrollment
Is always directly supervised (continuously present in the room) by another anesthesia provider such as an anesthesiologist or anesthesiologist assistant.

Non-Anesthesiologist Physicians

In some local jurisdictions, if an anesthesiologist is not immediately available to supervise the anesthesia care, the operating physician may take over those duties.