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A career in anaesthesia?

Why should I become an anaesthetist?

As one of the largest hospital specialities that answer is very varied. Here are some of the responses from our trainees and Consultants:

  • it is a hands-on practical specialty. Routine practical skills acquired include tracheal intubation and insertion of arterial lines, central lines etc. The use of local anaesthetic techniques including epidurals, spinals and other nerve blocks are a routine part of anaesthetic practice
  • there is a huge variety of work; Anaesthetists are involved in diverse areas including chronic pain, obstetrics, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), paediatric cardiology, invasive radiology and of course, the core discipline of operative surgery
  • my day-to-day job is physiology and pharmacology in action; anaesthetists require an in-depth understanding of applied physiology and pharmacology
  • the challenge of looking after the most unwell patients in the hospital is rewarding
  • allows me to develop my teaching skills. Anaesthetists play a major role in teaching both medical and non-medical staff. They are instructors on courses such as ATLS, ALS, APLS. They are also involved in simulation training. Training is unique in that it is 1:1 with a consultant trainer every day!
  • opportunity to work part time
  • research opportunities; one of the attractions of the Welsh School of Anaesthesia is the strong academic department at the University Hospital of Wales.

Want to find out more?

If you are a medical student or a foundation trainee who wants to find out more, look out for our careers evenings and/or contact the local college tutor in your hospital placement. A list is available on the welsh school of anaesthesia website. Try to organise some undergraduate or postgraduate taster days to get a true feel for the specialty. These days give you exposure to anaesthesia and allow hands on experience in ‘The day in the life of an Anaesthetist”. The aim of these are to show students the many varied roles of anaesthetists in the hospital, which is difficult unless a student has completed a Student Selected Component (SSC) as part of their medical degree.

The anaesthetic tasters are an effective way of gaining points at core interviews and showing commitment to the specialty.

During the taster days students will rotate between emergency theatre and on-call duties, elective short-stay surgery, intensive care, specialist anaesthesia in paediatrics, obstetrics, neurosurgery and cardiac surgery. The feedback from all students has been 100% positive.


For the latest information about recruitment please visit the Anaesthetics national recruitment office at Health Education England (HEE). Trainees applying for Core Anaesthesia training will be shortlisted following completion of the Multi- Specialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA). Once shortlisted they will undertake a formal interview to be deemed appointable to the core training programme

Further information

Royal College of Anaesthetists

Churchill House

35 Red Lion Square



Tel: 020 7092 1500


Website: Royal College of Anaesthetists


The Association of Anaesthetists

21 Portland Place



Tel: 020 7631 1650


Website: The Association of Anaesthetists