Background: The Board of the Scandinavian Society for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (SSAI) decided in 2008 to undertake a survey among members of the SSAI aiming at exploring some key points of training, professional activities and definitions of the specialty. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was used to capture core data on workforce demographics and working patterns together with opinions on definitions for practice/ practitioners in the four areas of anaesthesia, intensive care medicine, emergency medicine and pain medicine. Results: One thousand seven hundred and four responses were lodged, representing close to half of the total SSAI membership. The majority of participants reported in excess of 10 years of professional experience in general anaesthesia and intensive care medicine as well as emergency and pain medicine. While no support for separate or secondary specialities in the four areas was reported, a majority of respondents favoured sub-specialisation or recognition of particular medical competencies, notably so for intensive care medicine. Seventy-five percent or more of the respondents supported a common framework of employment within all four areas irrespective of further specialisation. Conclusions: The future of Scandinavian anaesthesiology is likely to involve further specialisation towards particular medical competencies. With such diversification of the workforce, the majority of the respondents still acknowledge the importance of belonging to one organisational body.