Skills Taught


Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one's own. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants must demonstrate a commitment to:

  • Communicate in an effective and responsible manner with the Anesthesiologist and health care professionals
  • Carrying out professional responsibilities
  • Adherence of ethical principles
  • Accountability to patients, society and the profession
  • Improve and maintain competency and a pursuit of life-long learning and scientific knowledge

Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to have values that include:

  • Placing the patients interest above self interest
  • Respect, empathy and compassion for the patient
  • Patient confidentiality
  • Practice without impairment from drug and alcohol abuse, cognitive deficiency or mental illness.
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and disabilities
  • Honesty with patients and medical professionals

Professional role is demonstrated by the student's ability to:

  • Demonstrate ethical behavior when interacting with patients, affiliated health care associations and members of the medical community.
  • Participate in activities that improve anesthesia care.
  • Interact on a professional level with integrity.
  • Teach others.
  • Participate in continuing education activities to acquire new knowledge and improve his or her practice.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Interpersonal and communication skills encompass verbal, nonverbal and written exchange of information. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with Anesthesiologist, other physicians, professional associates, and the health care system. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to:

  • Appropriately adapt communication style and messages to the context of the individual patient interaction
  • Work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
  • Demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety
  • Accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality and financial purposes

Communication skills are demonstrated by the student's ability to:

  • Effectively communicate with all individuals influencing patient care.
  • Interact competently with a diverse population.
  • Utilize appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication in the delivery of perianesthetic care.
  • Communicate effectively through case records, written reports and professional papers.

Medical Knowledge

Certified anesthesiologist assistants must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences. Practitioners must apply such knowledge using an investigatory and analytical thinking approach to clinical situations. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to:

  • Understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic processes, and epidemiology for medical conditions
  • Identify appropriate interventions for treatment of conditions
  • Select and interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies
  • Differentiate abnormalities in anatomic, physiological, laboratory findings and other diagnostic data
  • Appropriately use history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis
  • Aid in the development of an anesthesia care plan as a member of the Anesthesia care team

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

CAAs must continually investigate and evaluate their patient care practices. They should also appraise, analyze, and assimilate scientific evidence into their practice in an effort to improve patient care. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to:

  • Obtain and use information about their own population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn
  • Analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in concert with other members of the health care delivery team
  • Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients' health problems
  • Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
  • Use information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information;
  • Facilitate the learning of CAA students and other health care professionals
  • Recognize that Medical science is a constantly evolving science and appropriately address gender, cultural, cognitive, emotional and other biases; gaps in medical knowledge; and physical limitations in themselves and others
  • Engage and promoted continuing medical education and lifelong learning

Critical thinking is demonstrated by the student's ability to:

  • Apply theory to practice in decision-making and problem solving.
  • Provide anesthesia care based on sound principles and research evidence.
  • Perform a pre-anesthetic assessment and formulate an anesthesia care plan for patients to whom they are assigned to administer anesthesia.
  • Identify and take appropriate action when confronted with anesthetic equipment-related malfunctions.
  • Interpret and utilize data obtained from noninvasive and invasive monitoring modalities.
  • Calculate, initiate, and manage fluid and blood component therapy.
  • Recognize and appropriately respond to anesthetic complications that occur during the perianesthetic period.
  • Pass the National Commission for the Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) certification examination.

Patient Care

Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to:

  • Develop and carry out patient management plans in consultation with the supervising anesthesiologist
  • Communicate effectively and demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families
  • Gather essential and accurate information about their patients
  • Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information, preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families
  • Perform competently pertinent medical and invasive procedures considered essential for the practice of anesthesiology
  • Work with health care professionals, including those from other disciplines, to provide patient-focused care

Individualized perianesthetic management is demonstrated by the ability of the student to:

  • Provide care throughout the perianesthetic continuum.
  • Use a variety of current anesthesia techniques, agents, adjunctive drugs, and equipment while providing anesthesia.
  • Administer general anesthesia to patients of all ages and physical conditions for a variety of surgical and medically related procedures.
  • Provide anesthesia services to all patients, including trauma and emergency cases.
  • Administer and manage a variety of regional anesthetics.
  • Function as a resource person for airway and ventilatory management of patients.
  • Possess current advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) recognition.
  • Possess current pediatric advanced life support (PALS) recognition.
  • Deliver culturally competent perianesthetic care throughout the anesthesia experience.

Systems Based Practice

Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care. CAAs must also exhibit the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal quality and value. Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to:

  • Practice cost effective health care and resource allocation that do not compromise quality of care
  • Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • Use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education
  • Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
  • Accept responsibility for promoting a safe environment for patient care and recognizing and correcting systems-based factors that negatively impact patient care
  • Apply medical information and clinical data systems to provide more effective, efficient patient care
  • Support initiatives that ensure access to medical care for all patients

Patient safety is demonstrated by the ability of the student to:

  • Be vigilant in the delivery of patient care.
  • Protect patients from iatrogenic complications.
  • Participate in the positioning of patients to prevent injury.
  • Conduct a comprehensive and appropriate equipment check.
  • Utilize standard precautions and appropriate infection control measures.