2013 National Anaesthesia Day

National Anaesthesia Day is relaunched

2013 National Anaesthesia Day was held across Australia and New Zealand on October 16, the anniversary of the day in 1846 that ether anaesthetic was first demonstrated in Boston, Massachusetts. 


The aim of National Anaesthesia Day was to raise awareness of the role anaesthetists play in patients' preparation for surgery, their wellbeing during surgery and their recovery. 


A Community Attitudes Survey (see summary below) commissioned by ANZCA earlier in 2013 found that a large proportion of the population were unaware of anaesthetists' training and qualifications and not sure of their role in the operating theatre.


National Anaesthesia Day focused on improving this understanding and reinforcing the message that anaesthesia is safe and that anaesthetists are highly skilled medical specialists.


What we did in 2013

NAD 2013 posterCopies of the poster "What is an anaesthetist (an-ees-the-tist) were sent to all hospitals on the College's database along with balloons and guidelines on how to support the day. Fellows and anaesthesia departments in hospitals were asked to participate. 


Many hospitals set up foyer booths with displays of equipment and mannequins and anaesthetists on hand to answer questions and hand out the patient information sheets available on the ANZCA website.


The College also ran a successful media campaign, issuing media releases in Australia and New Zealand.


A wrap-up of last year's National Anaesthesia Day activities can be found in the December 2013 edition of the ANZCA Bulletin.


What the community knows about anaesthesia

A 2013 Community Attitudes Survey commissioned by ANZCA found that, despite 96 per cent of people reporting experience of a general anaesthetic (personally or through a close family member):

  • Only 50 per cent are aware that all anaesthetists are doctors (of these, 41 per cent know they are doctors with the same training/qualifications as other specialists).
  • Nearly one in 10 does not think anaesthetists are doctors and another 49 per cent are unsure.
  • 50 per cent don't feel informed about anaesthesia.
  • Just over three in 10 say they would have concerns about undergoing anaesthesia/sedation.
  • 30 per cent report TV medical shows as a source of information (personal experience - 72 per cent; family and friends - 50 per cent; the internet - 17 per cent).
  • Four in 10 perceive going under anaesthesia/sedation as a moderate to high-risk procedure (six in 10 low/almost no risk).
  • Four in 10 are concerned (one in seven very concerned) about waking up during an operation.

 A full report of the survey can be found in the September 2013 edition of the ANZCA Bulletin.


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