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What questions should be asked in an anesthesia job interview?

September 27, 2023

When it comes to anesthesia professionals in this country, there are presently 42,264 active anesthesiologists and 56,000 active certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). However, fluctuations are predicted, with a calculated shortage of 12,500 anesthesiologists this year in tandem with a 3% growth in the employment prospects for physicians and surgeons by 2031. The nursing profession is also anticipated to face shortages, and by 2025, it is estimated that there will be a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses specializing in direct patient care. For CRNAs specifically, 62% are over 40 years of age and just 2% are in the 20-30 range, meaning many are inching to retirement without enough staff ready to replace them. However, the job outlook for nurses, including CRNAs, is projected to experience a remarkable 40% growth through 2031.

Given the high demand and limited availability of anesthesiology specialists, coupled with the fact that surgical services historically contribute around 60% to a healthcare facility’s revenue, it is imperative to strategically select the right individuals for your perioperative team to ensure a dependable, knowledgeable, and reassuring care environment. Here are some essential questions to consider when conducting interviews for potential additions to your team.


Why did you decide to pursue a career in anesthesiology?

When hiring, exploring the underlying motivations and genuine passions that drive individuals toward a career in anesthesiology holds significant importance. Given the demanding nature of this field, understanding the inspirations of a candidate can reflect their commitment to the profession. Ideally, the search should be for someone whose response goes beyond monetary considerations or schedule flexibility. A truly compelling candidate will articulate what they find exhilarating about anesthesiology, as someone dedicated to their profession often evolves into a more exceptional employee.


How do you get a patient ready for surgery?

This question is a comprehensive assessment of the candidate’s proficiency, encompassing their knowledge, practical experience, and understanding in discerning a patient’s suitability for a particular anesthetic and any medical allergies. Additionally, equipping the patient mentally for the procedure is a critical aspect, which entails explaining the anticipated effects of the anesthetic and alleviating any apprehensions. The response indicates a respectable level of expertise in patient preparation, coupled with an awareness of the diverse effects of anesthetics.


How do you manage a patient’s anxieties about the procedure?

A significant aspect of the anesthesiology provider’s role revolves around addressing their patients’ emotional well-being and handling their needs through active listening, effective communication, and genuine compassion. An ideal candidate will exhibit empathy and a profound understanding of the emotional challenges faced by individuals undergoing surgery. Their response should outline a thoughtful approach to comforting anxious patients, ideally including a concrete example to illustrate their process. Furthermore, a provider capable of lessening a patient’s fears before surgery will likely also foster a positive post-operative perspective, contributing to a smoother recovery.


When do you feel it is safe for a patient to be sent home?

As skilled anesthesiologists and CRNAs know, numerous sedatives have lasting effects on a patient hours after the surgical procedure concludes. A qualified candidate must understand the indicators that suggest a patient’s safe return to consciousness and the signs that may signify complications. Their commitment to patient safety extends beyond anesthesia administration to encompass the critical phase of post-anesthetic recovery. Proficiency in diagnosing potential issues and a deep understanding of appropriate patient care during all stages are necessary qualities sought in an anesthesiologist provider representing your medical facility.


How do you deal with stress if a problem occurs during surgery?

The role of anesthesiologists and CRNAs often entails high-stress situations, particularly when critical issues arise that may place a patient’s life at risk. An ideal candidate should recognize the job’s emotionally demanding nature and demonstrate a capacity to cope with the psychological toll it may cause. Responses to this question reveal the candidate’s ability to maintain composure under pressure rather than succumbing to panic or shutting down. A grounded and collected approach that acknowledges the inherent stresses of the profession is a crucial attribute to seek in a potential anesthesiology provider.


What areas of anesthesia would you like to expand your skillset in?

Evaluating a candidate’s commitment to professional growth and ongoing learning is paramount. While anesthesiologists and CRNAs must actively engage in recurrent training and educational endeavors to uphold their credentials and remain informed about the latest developments in their field, many also want to learn new skills, such as OB, cardiac, or neuro, to practice at the top of their skillset. A solid dedication to continuous education is a pivotal marker of their seriousness and commitment to the profession.


Simplify the hiring process

Recruiting specialized medical professionals poses significant challenges for healthcare organizations due to the high demand and limited supply of these essential providers. Delays in recruitment can have costly repercussions and adversely affect patient care. Healthcare organizations must establish effective recruitment strategies that involve creating a comprehensive, long-term plan that considers demand, patient needs, and team dynamics while identifying potential candidates. Luckily, partnering with an anesthesia management team can alleviate the workload for busy medical teams involved in this process.

At Premier Anesthesia, we’ve forged strong connections with both medical facilities and candidates, giving us a clear understanding of their needs well in advance. Whether you require locum tenens or full-time staff, our comprehensive recruitment strategy begins from day one. We take care of licensing and credentialing, initiate the interview process, negotiate compensation and benefits, facilitate travel arrangements, and serve as your exclusive contact for exceptional candidates. Discover more about our services today.