The Surgical Team for Children

When a child undergoes surgery, a team of medical staff assists the surgeon in the procedure. The number of team members differs depending on the type of surgery performed. Most teams include the following:

  • Surgeon. A surgeon has completed four years of medical school, an internship, and a residency with specialized training after medical school. Most surgeons have passed examinations given by a national board of surgeons for "board certification." In addition, some surgeons have the letters FACS behind their name. This means they passed review and are considered a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

  • Anesthesiologist An anesthesiologist has completed four years of post-medical school training in anesthesia, in addition to the required four years of medical school. Anesthesiologists may further specialize in certain surgery specialties, such as pediatric anesthesia. The anesthesiologist is involved in all three phases of surgery: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative management.

  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The nurse anesthetist takes care of the child before, during, and after surgical procedures. The nurse anesthetist constantly monitors every important function of the child's body and can modify the anesthetic to ensure maximum safety and comfort. A nurse anesthetist is a master's prepared advanced practice nurse who received specialized training in anesthesia. Nurse anesthetists enjoy a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients to patients in every practice setting, and for every type of surgery or procedure. They are the sole anesthesia providers in nearly all rural hospitals, and the main provider of anesthesia to the men and women serving the U.S. Armed Forces. Nurse anesthetists are required to pass a national certification examination to become a CRNA and are required to maintain regular continuing medical education.

  • Anesthesiologist assistant (AA). Anesthesia assistants are licensed professionals who work under the direction of licensed anesthesiologists to implement anesthesia care plans. They have a premedical bachelor's degree, followed by a comprehensive course work and clinical training at the master's degree level. Anesthesia assistants are required to pass a national certification examination, maintain regular continuing medical education, and recertify every 6 years.

  • Operating room nurse/circulating nurse. Nurses are registered and licensed by the state to care for patients. Some nurses concentrate in a specialized field, such as surgery. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses provide education and certification for the operating room nurse. The operating room nurse assists the surgeon during surgery. Operating room nurses are certified in various surgical areas. They will make your child feel comfortable and answer his or her questions if he or she goes to the operating room awake.

  • Surgical technologists (scrub techs). Surgical technologists are allied health professionals with specialized education who function as members of the surgical team in the role of scrub tech. They are an integral part of the surgical team.