The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: Anesthesia

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: Anesthesia


Photo Credit
From the AAMC Careers in Medicine Clinical Evaluation

1. Name and Location of Clinical Rotation: Anesthesia at Indiana University Hospital

2. What did I like most about this specialty?
 
- Seeing first hand how the anesthetics we learned about in pharmacology are used and the body's immediate response to them
 
- Seeing how the anesthesiologist is critical to keeping the flow of the OR going - if they aren't ready the surgery cannot start
 
- Interacting with many different specialties and getting to see a variety of surgeries up close and personal
 
- Learning about how each of the various intra-opertaive monitoring devices are used to make sure that the patient is remaining stable
 
- The on-your-feet problem solving that you needed to use in order to keep things moving
 
3. What did I like least about this specialty?
 
My only complaint about anesthesia is the limited patient contact you have. You meet the patient, talk about the plan, put them to sleep when they get to the OR, and then wheel them to recovery where you sign-off.

4. Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like?

I think so. The majority of anesthesia takes place in the OR/hospital setting and that was the entirety of my exposure. I know that there are also some outpatient opportunities in pain managament that might have more ongoing/long-term patient contact, and it would have been nice to see some of that too. Overall, I think I got a pretty good idea about what things are like.
 
5. Did my interests, values, skills and/or personality "fit" with this specialty? If yes, in what way did they "fit"? If no, why might they not be compatible?

Yes, I do think my interest, values, skills, and personality all fit with this specialty. Although patient contact may be limited, I feel like we were really using our knowledge to help the patient and we saw the immediate effect of that. This field is definitely more instant gratification oriented which is a lot different compared to fields where patient compliance completely dictates outcome. Finally, I worked with a number of different anesthesiologist during my rotation and they all were easy going, organized, and personable - people with whom I think I would get along with well. Also, quite a few of the women I worked with had kids and appeared to be balancing things so well (You know I asked!). That is HUGE for me.
 
6. What are the possible practice settings for specialists in this field? Which of these settings interest me and do I know enough about them?

As stated before, I would mainly be in the hospital. I could do adult, pediatrics, or both. I am not sure about the other places I could practice. Maybe a pain clinic?

7. What information do I still need to find out about this specialty?

 I definitely should do a bit more research on other places you can find anesthesiologists outside of the OR.

8. Has my perception of this specialty changed based on my clinical rotation experience?

Definitely, my main concern about anesthesia was I thought there was little or no patient interaction. It is limited, but you still have a chance to help put the patient's worries at ease and also can be more or less involved as you prefer.
 
9. Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing a career in this specialty? If yes, how did it influence me?

I think it definitely made me seriously consider anesthesia as a career choice
 
10. Right now, on a scale of 1-10, how interested am I in this specialty as a career option? 8

11. Other comments or reflections about this rotation or specialty:
I think anesthesia could be a good fit for my life and career goals. I guess the big deciding factor is whether or not I want to do surgery. It was very cool to see all the different surgeries. This forced me to do some self reflection about if I felt like the surgeries are something I just wanted to watch, or if I wanted to be actually doing them. Decisions...decisions....
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