Newswise — Medical title manipulation, a growing concern across health care and medical specialties, confuses patients and creates discord in the care setting, ultimately risking patient safety. Today, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) calls on the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to reject any requests to manipulate and misappropriate medical titles.

ASA is also enlisting the support in this effort of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“Since the word was first coined, the term ‘anesthesiologist’ has been used to differentiate physicians trained in the science and study of anesthesiology from non-physician anesthetists,” said Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists has formally requested certain organizations to recognize the term ‘nurse anesthesiologist’ and ‘nurse anesthetist’ as interchangeable, which is incorrect. More importantly, however, to use the term incorrectly will confuse patients and violate the universally accepted ethical principle in health care that patients must have full knowledge and understanding of who the professionals are providing their care.”

In addition to the patient being fully informed of their health care providers’ qualifications, ASA maintains that staff in the clinical setting must also be entirely informed of the education, skills, and training of their colleagues.

Throughout medical and nursing communities and certifying boards, “anesthesiology” and “anesthesiologist” are accepted as a medical practice and medical physician:

  • ASA, the American Board of Anesthesiology, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and the American Medical Association affirm that anesthesiology is a medical specialty and professionals who refer to themselves as “anesthesiologists” must hold a license to practice medicine.
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a ruling in March by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine to limit the use of the term “anesthesiologist” to individuals licensed to practice medicine.
  • The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs defines “anesthesiologist” as a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) who has successfully completed an approved anesthesiology residency program.
  • The World Health Organization views “anesthesiology as a medical practice” that should be directed and supervised by an anesthesiologist.

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves. For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter.