The purpose of anesthesia training for medical students is not to make anesthesiologists out of all medical students, but to give students knowledge of basic concepts used in anesthesia and to teach them skills of airway management and vascular access that may be useful to them in other areas of medical practice.
The physician should have a good knowledge of what the anesthetic will do to the patient, even though the physician does not administer it him or herself. The student, therefore, should observe and study the physiological changes which take place in the anesthetized patient. When these changes are of sufficient magnitude, they become complications or toxic effects. The student should learn what these are, how they are caused, and how they may present and be treated. Emphasis should be laid on good preoperative preparation. Students should learn basic techniques of maintaining a clear airway and giving assisted or artificial ventilation. They should also learn how to position the patents head, how to hold the chin and how to insert an airway. Medical students should learn enough about an anesthetic machine. In addition to these technical accomplishments, the student may have the opportunity to administer either general or spinal anesthesia under the direct and constant supervision of a member of the staff.