Tips for Improving Communication Between Anesthesiologists and Surgeons 

Each person in a hospital setting especially for surgery, is an expert in their field. They all have to learn how to work together to safely operate on patients and help them recover. Sometimes, it can be hard to communicate given the fast-paced environment. While they aren’t always in the same room at the same time, anesthesiologists and surgeons need to be on the same page. So here are some tips for improving the communication between anesthesiologists and surgeons. 

Proper Introductions 

At the beginning of surgery, it’s very possible that a surgeon and an anesthesiologist may have never met one another before. Instead of brushing each other off and getting right into surgery, taking a few seconds to do a proper introduction can improve communication in the OR. It doesn’t matter if an anesthesiologist is new or a surgeon is new to a hospital. Both are responsible for their patient’s health and wellness. 

Starting at a new hospital or OR can be nerve-wracking and comes with many questions regarding working with new co-workers and salary expectations. As a new anesthesiologist, you can learn more about what to expect on the job with help from Physicians Thrive. 

Mitigating Negative Stereotypes

It is not uncommon for surgeons to carry around negative stereotypes about anesthesiologists. Both are incredibly important jobs that ensure a patient has a safe operation. However, many anesthesiologists may feel that the surgeons that they are working with may not have the same amount of respect for them as other colleagues. 

Many surgeons are known for calling out for “anesthesia” rather than the name of their colleague. This can be partly because one surgeon will be with the patient for the entirety of their surgery. While anesthesiologists can work in shifts. A surgeon may work with anesthesiologists that they know well for the first half of surgery, and then a completely new colleague at the end of the surgery. Instead of thinking that every anesthesiologist they work with is the same, communication can be improved if both parties ask for each other’s name and do a quick review of the patient and procedure that they are working on. 

Anesthesiologists can have more downtime during surgery than a surgeon, which has also led to some surgeons feeling like their anesthesiologists are not paying attention or are zoning out on the computer. Instead of feeling frustrated, surgeons can mitigate that stereotype by understanding that their anesthesiologists are monitoring the patient and playing a vital role in ensuring the surgery runs smoothly. 

Understanding Safety Concerns 

Operating on a patient always comes with a level of risk. It is up to surgeons and anesthesiologists to minimize the risk of future issues as much as possible during an operation. Miscommunication between doctors in the OR can be a factor that leads to negative incidents during surgery. 

One way to make sure that everyone in the operating room communicates with one another is to understand the safety concerns. Having a quick meeting between a surgeon and an anesthesiologist before an operation can help mitigate concerns. If both meet or already know one another, going over any safety concerns before an operation can ensure that they are both on the same page. 

Post-OP Recaps 

If you can find the time for a quick pre-op introduction, you can continue to improve communication with a post-op recap. Even if everyone is tired at the end of a long surgery, you can feel satisfied knowing that your team was able to come together and help out the health of your patient that day. Post-op discussions can go beyond the day of operation as well. Getting involved in different activities around the workplace can help foster better communication as well. 

Having anesthesiologists or surgeons speak to residents or give talks to those interested can help open up the doors for more communication. As well as participating in training programs together. If you work for a hospital or private practice, creating spaces where surgeons and anesthesiologists can interact with one another outside of the OR is a great way to ensure better communication moving forward. 


Communicating in the OR is one of the best ways to prevent negative situations. Not only does it ensure the safety of your patients, but it also allows for hospital settings to run more smoothly. Having happy surgeons and anesthesiologists ensures that you will have happy patients and mitigate risks that could have been avoided from simple communication. 

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