Nationwide Clinical Practice Patterns of Anesthesiology Critical Care Physicians: A Survey to Members of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

Shahzad Shaefi, Ameeka Pannu, Ariel L. Mueller, Brigid Flynn, Adam Evans, Craig S. Jabaley, Domagoj Mladinov, Michael Wall, Shahla Siddiqui, David J. Douin, M. Dustin Boone, Erika Monteith, Vivian Abalama, Mark E. Nunnally, Miguel Cobas, Matthew A. Warner, Robert D. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Despite the growing contributions of critical care anesthesiologists to clinical practice, research, and administrative leadership of intensive care units (ICUs), relatively little is known about the subspecialty-specific clinical practice environment. An understanding of contemporary clinical practice is essential to recognize the opportunities and challenges facing critical care anesthesia, optimize staffing patterns, assess sustainability and satisfaction, and strategically plan for future activity, scope, and training. This study surveyed intensivists who are members of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (SOCCA) to evaluate practice patterns of critical care anesthesiologists, including compensation, types of ICUs covered, models of overnight ICU coverage, and relationships between these factors. We hypothesized that variability in compensation and practice patterns would be observed between individuals. METHODS: Board-certified critical care anesthesiologists practicing in the United States were identified using the SOCCA membership distribution list and invited to take a voluntary online survey between May and June 2021. Multiple-choice questions with both single- and multiple-select options were used for answers with categorical data, and adaptive questioning was used to clarify stem-based responses. Respondents were asked to describe practice patterns at their respective institutions and provide information about their demographics, salaries, effort in ICUs, as well as other activities. RESULTS: A total of 490 participants were invited to take this survey, and 157 (response rate 32%) surveys were completed and analyzed. The majority of respondents were White (73%), male (69%), and younger than 50 years of age (82%). The cardiothoracic/cardiovascular ICU was the most common practice setting, with 69.5% of respondents reporting time working in this unit. Significant variability was observed in ICU practice patterns. Respondents reported spending an equal proportion of their time in clinical practice in the operating rooms and ICUs (median, 40%; interquartile range [IQR], 20%-50%), whereas a smaller proportion - primarily those who completed their training before 2009 - reported administrative or research activities. Female respondents reported salaries that were $36,739 less than male respondents; however, this difference was not statistically different, and after adjusting for age and practice type, these differences were less pronounced (-$27,479.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], -$57,232.61 to $2273.03; P =.07). CONCLUSIONS: These survey data provide a current snapshot of anesthesiology critical care clinical practice patterns in the United States. Our findings may inform decision-making around the initiation and expansion of critical care services and optimal staffing patterns, as well as provide a basis for further work that focuses on intensivist satisfaction and burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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