My January 2014 NEWSLETTER editorial considered the three “A”s of being a successful anesthesiologist: availability, affability and ability. Cutting across all three of these A’s is the interplay of the anesthesiologist with patients and other health care providers. Let’s name that interplay what it really is – communication. And then let’s look at how communication actually acts with and upon the character traits of a successful anesthesiologist.

The first A of the successful anesthesiologist is availability. That editorial in January described an anecdote about my early practice. It briefly described how my unavailability to a particular surgeon ended my practice with that surgeon. When I was not immediately available, on a day that I was on call to cover his procedures, he never again requested my services. In the past five years, it has been my undesirable responsibility to mention to residents that being late for work is not...

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