CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Anesthesia is a necessity in the operating room, but UNC-Chapel Hill professor of anesthesiology, Dr. Bryant Murphy says there’s a nationwide shortage of anesthesiologists and other medical professionals trained to provide anesthesia.

“On a daily basis, we probably are five to seven people short, just in one particular category,” he explained.

Murphy noted there are a number of reasons for the shortage, including the pandemic and a general shortage of health care workers.

“But a lot of it has to do with just expansion,” he added. “Hospitals are expanding — the sites that we go to provide anesthesia are different than we used to.”

In addition to hospitals, anesthesia providers are also needed in places like outpatient surgery centers.

“A good example might be your G.I. clinic where you go to get your colonoscopy,” Murphy said. “We are doing anesthesia now in ways that are different than they were 10 years ago.”

Murphy says UNC has not needed to reschedule surgeries due to the shortage, but the hospital must constantly figure out ways to work around it.

“Really just talk about how can we shift things around, maybe reallocate,” he said. “To make sure the resources are in the place we need them to be at the time that we need them.”

UNC is focusing on recruiting and retention, but Murphy noted that there is a lot of competition across the state and country for a limited number of people who do the job.