Features  |   December 2017
The Aging Anesthesiologist
Author Affiliations
  • Jonathan D. Katz, M.D.
    Committee on Occupational Health
Article Information
Education / CPD / Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Practice Management / Quality Improvement / Features
Features   |   December 2017
The Aging Anesthesiologist
ASA Monitor 12 2017, Vol.81, 18-20.
ASA Monitor 12 2017, Vol.81, 18-20.
The population of anesthesiologists in the United States is aging. In the year 2008, the average age of an ASA member was 47.b Currently, it is 50 years of age. And 37 percent of ASA members are age 55 years or older.
Changes that frequently accompany the aging process can provide both advantages and disadvantages to the ability of an aging anesthesiologist to successfully fulfill all of his/her clinical responsibilities. Decreases in motor strength and stamina make long work periods and night call responsibilities more onerous for older anesthesiologists.1  Hearing and visual impairments can impose difficulties as the senior anesthesiologist attempts to master new technologies such as ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia. Cognitive changes impact short-term memory, abstraction, and mental flexibility and can hinder the ability of an older anesthesiologist to multitask or to perform some of the complex duties required during many anesthetics. On the other hand, many important abilities are enhanced with maturation, most notably wisdom, judgement and the experience from a lifetime of clinical practice, which can impart definite advantages to senior anesthesiologists.
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