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J Clin Anesth. 1989;1(4):313-9.

Anesthesiologists in North Carolina: a survey reflecting emerging subspecialization.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill.


This North Carolina case study addresses the migration of anesthesiologists into subspecialty, clinical areas of anesthesiology over a 4-year period (1984 to 1987). Three hundred fourteen members of the North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists (NCSA) were surveyed using a one-page questionnaire. The response rate was 93.6%. The questionnaire elicited data to characterize the magnitude of change in anesthesiologist manpower, to assess emerging subspecialization, to describe the flux of anesthesiologists entering and leaving practice, and to detail evolving modes of practice. Results indicated a net increase in manpower averaging 8.8% per year in academic programs, whereas clinical community practitioners increased physician positions at a rate three times the former (27% increase per year). Of 184 anesthesiologists recruited to North Carolina over 4 years, 75 different residency programs were represented; 48% of new anesthesiologists were from southern educational programs and 44% entered practice with fellowships (i.e., postgraduate year 4 to 5). The principal fellowship was cardiac (33%). Subspecialty areas were represented in all 53 reporting clinical practices. The principal practice mode emerging was hospital-based, same day surgery (85%) followed by pediatric anesthesia (81%), perioperative pain management (68%), obstetric anesthesia (63%), and an anesthesia "clinic" (54%). Respondents expected additional practice options over the next 3 years with anesthesia for ambulatory diagnostic and therapeutic modalities projected to emerge at the fastest rate. In conclusion, anesthesiologists in North Carolina seem to be filling unmet needs in obstetric and cardiac anesthesia, critical care, ambulatory surgery, and pain therapy units. These observations may represent a vignette of the national scene.

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