Two weeks of anesthesiology certainly flew by, and given my interaction with the residents and the nature of the field, I’m really considering it as a career. I should have my USMLE Step 1 scores back within the next two weeks, so that’ll definitely play a role in deciding what I apply for this fall, namely otolaryngology versus anesthesiology.
I had several memorable encounters with patients pre-operatively where I tried to ease their anxiety and answer any questions. I learned about the anesthetic nuances for different kinds of procedures – reducing edema in intracerebral neurosurgeries, replenishing insensible fluid losses in large abdominal surgeries, managing blood loss in orthopedic hip replacement, etc.
There are many appealing factors to anesthesia: no rounding, very laid back residents/attendings, and the ability to complete residency and a fellowship in five years. The field itself requires a keen understanding of physiology and pharmacology – at many points in the rotation, I equated anesthesiology to the “internists in the operating room.”
The issue I’ll have to consider is the future of anesthesiologists versus certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) with regards to job security. In the 1990s, there was a dip in the number of anesthesiologists, but now, some are saying that the market is saturated and practices are finding CRNAs more economical. I’ll be looking into the finer points of this debate in the coming weeks.
Anyways, I’m starting two weeks of neurosurgery early tomorrow morning, so it’s back to the operating room with a newfound understanding of what goes on “behind the curtain” with the anesthesia team. Hope the next two weeks go smoothly. 🙂