The Emory Anesthesiologist Assistant program requires that every applicant be familiar with the practice of anesthesia and the operating room environment. Applicants must arrange to spend time with an anesthetist or anesthesiologist in an operating room observing the administration of anesthesia and other human patient care activities. We strongly recommend shadowing for a minimum of 8 hours to identify the role and responsibilities of the anesthesiologist or anesthetist, and to identify different types of anesthesia used during surgical procedures. The Emory AA Program office does not have a formal program for assistance with this – applicants should obtain opportunities directly through personal resources or clinical sites, often by contacting the Chief Anesthetist at a given group. 

Shadowing is an observational experience; you will not be expected to have an in depth understanding of everything that takes place during your visit, but hopefully observing will reinforce your decision to aspire to become an Anesthesiologist Assistant. 

Applicants must obtain permission prior to the shadowing experience at any clinical site or institution. You may choose to shadow for a full day or break the time into multiple short contacts (if locations change, please use the Documentation of Familiarity for each location). Reading about anesthesia in general before the experience and looking up medications and procedures observed can help you better understand the role of the anesthetist. Some questions you may consider after shadowing are:

  • What is the “typical day” of an AA?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of a certified anesthetist?
  • What procedures were observed and what was the type of anesthesia administered?
  • What drugs were used during induction/emergence?

When you arrange to shadow an anesthesia provider, complete the top portion of this Documentation of Familiarity with Anesthesia Practice form and have the anesthesia provider sign.  This form must be uploaded as part of your CASAA application.

Obtaining a shadowing experience can sometimes be a difficult task in areas that Anesthesiologist Assistants are not prevalent. Using the Documentation of Familiarity form should assist students with requesting permission to schedule a clinical sites visit.  If you have made contact with at least three clinical facilities and you are unsuccessful in obtaining a shadowing opportunity, please complete the three waiver forms in its entirety for each clinical site where you were denied permission to shadow. Forms will be confirmed and accepted in place of the Documentation of Familiarity with Anesthesia Practice.