What is Anesthesiology?
Designed as an introduction to the specialty, we recommend holding a “what is anesthesiology” meeting as your first of the year to provide early exposure to new M1 students about the practice of anesthesiology. While this session is designed to be relatively superficial, we want to put the specialty in the forefront of new M1 student’s minds, as many students do not discover their passion for anesthesia until much later in the medical school timeline.
Time Commitment: Low. We encourage that you reach out to your AIG advisor and have them speak informally about what drew them to anesthesia. Sample questions provided below.
Contacts needed: 1 anesthesiologist or anesthesia resident.
Structure: informal brief presentation about the field of anesthesia followed by a Q+A session from the medical students.
- What initially drew you to this field?
- What is your day-to-day work life like?
- How much flexibility is there within anesthesia?
- How much patient contact is involved with anesthesiology?
- What personality types are generally attracted to anesthesia?
- How much charting/documentation is involved in your job?
- What role do CRNAs and AAs play in the anesthesia team?
- Where do you see for the future of this specialty?
- How competitive is anesthesiology to match into?
- Would you consider most anesthesiologists you know to be happy/satisfied with their job?
Meet the Matched
Host a meeting with the recently matched M4 students at your school to learn about their match process and how the anesthesia match works! We recommend that you host this session in the spring of the academic year, prior to the M4s graduating. This way, the match process will have completed before the information session.
Time Commitment: Low. Minimal prep required, contact multiple M4s willing to participate.
Contacts Needed: any matched M4s from that year
Structure: Informal, allow a free Q and A from the students participating. Have each M4 briefly describe their match process before delving into the questions.
Questions if conversation stalls:
- Where did you ultimately match? What about this program led you to rank it first/highly?
- What challenges did you have with the residency application process?
- What advice do you have for each class (M1/M2/M3)?
- Is there anything you didn’t know prior to the match process that you wish someone had told you?
- When ranking programs, what were some of the factors that you considered?
- How did you differentiate yourself as a competitive applicant compared to other students?
- What AIG- or ASA-provided resources did you use to help with the match process?
Anesthesia Speed Dating
A perfect event to learn more about the different specialties and practice settings within anesthesia. Gather multiple different subspecialties within anesthesiology and have an informal speed dating event where medical students are then able to speak casually with each different anesthesia provider in a more intimate, direct setting. This can expose students to the field of anesthesiology and all it’s possible subspecialties quickly to allow the greatest number of students visualize a career in anesthesiology as soon as possible.
Time Commitment: High. This will require about three to four months in preparation to rent the rooms from the school, contact various physicians and ask them to commit to the event, promote the event for students, and divide students up based on the number of participating physicians.
Contacts Needed: at least 1 physician (ideally 2-3) for each different field within anesthesia. See below for examples of different anesthesiology subspecialties.
Structure: For this event, we recommend that you rent a few rooms in your school (or other local public area) and dedicate each room to different specialties in anesthesia (general anesthesia, private practice, academic, cardiac, obstetric, neuro, regional, pain, pediatric etc). Divide the participating students up into the same number of groups as participating rooms. Allow these groups to rotate through the different rooms every 10 minutes, allowing the students to get to know the different faces of anesthesiology quickly, and in a fun informal way.
Questions: Allow students to come up with questions for each room. Some question examples can be:
- What led you to choose this type of practice within anesthesia?
- Were you considering a different type of anesthesia before choosing your subspecialty?
- What are some things that surprised you concerning this specialty?
Host a meeting each month inviting different types of anesthesiologists to speak about their type of anesthesia specifically. Encourage the anesthesiologist to incorporate a simple case that may demonstrate a commonly used concept in their field (ex- Pain: interventional pain procedures, regional: blocks, OB: epidurals etc). This can open up discussions deeper than what encompasses general anesthesia for those students who are committed to pursuing anesthesia and want to know more about opportunities after residency.
Time Commitment: Moderate- will take time to reach out to all different subspecialty anesthesiologists. Most of the work for this project will be upfront. Once all subspecialists are identified and meetings scheduled, the work will be minimal. 1 hour meeting.
Contacts needed: Contact 1 anesthesiologist from each subspecialty and schedule them once per month over the course of the year. If you put forward the effort to recruit all physicians early, the rest of your year can be smooth sailing once these are set up.
Structure: Invite anesthesiologists to present cases, discuss their career path, why they were interested in said specialty during a 1-hour meeting. Ideally, you can foster this relationship by having the same individuals come back each year.
- How / why did you choose this specialty?
- What do you find most rewarding about your work?
- What are the biggest challenges?
- How much balance do you have between your career and personal life?
- What attributes are important in anyone considering this specialty?
- Knowing what you do now, would you choose this specialty again?
Meet with Local Program Directors
Meeting with a local Anesthesiology Program Director is an extremely valuable way to learn about the residency application process. This can give you an idea of what different programs value, the types of residents they look for, and insight on what makes medical students stand out.
Time Commitment: Low. This meeting can be easily scheduled with emails and a few months preparatory time.
Contacts needed: Your home PD or away school PD or Assistant PD.
Structure: While this will be mostly a Q+A session, it would be helpful to have the PD present a little bit about what they think makes their program stand out at the beginning of the meeting.
- Do your graduating residents typically sign on as attending staff?
- What is the success of graduates of the program? I.e. board pass rate, fellowships etc
- What are the clinical, non-clinical, and administrative responsibilities of residents?
- Hospitals across the country are suffering extreme economic pressures. What is the response you have noticed within your hospital?
- Particular strengths of your residency program? Weaknesses?
- What process do you have for improving the residency? For evaluating rotations? Do you anticipate any changes in the residency program?
- What attracted you to join the faculty of this program, and what changes have you seen in your time here?
- Are there formal mentorship programs throughout the residency? How do faculty support residents?
- What is the personality/culture of the program?
Meet the Residents
Meeting with residents at various anesthesia programs can provide invaluable information regarding their opinion of the program and quality of training they are receiving. We would recommend doing at least one of these sessions a year if possible. Residents can share their path to discovering anesthesiology, their Match process, and finding their way in residency. The information obtained here is likely to be very relevant as these students just recently were in medical school themselves.
Time Commitment: Moderate. While only 1-2 residents will be needed for this session, residents tend to be extremely busy with little control over their schedules. Consider this when trying to plan for these meetings and give ample time to schedule these sessions.
Contacts needed: 1-2 resident anesthesiologists (preferably from different classes- ex intern vs CA-2 to get different perspectives)
Structure: While this will be mostly a Q+A session, it would be helpful to have the residents present a little bit about what led them to choose their residency program and anesthesia as a specialty.
- Would you choose to sign on to work at your hospital when you graduate?
- Discuss vacation policy, sick policy, maternity leave etc.
- Relationship between support staff and residents or attendings and residents.
- Average number of hours worked per week?
- Most and least favorite parts about the program?
- What is the call schedule like? How busy are you/do you get much sleep?
- What are the advantages to the specific location?
- What proportion of attendings are private practice?
- Are you considering pursuing a subspecialty? Why or why not?
Meet with your Anesthesiology State Component Society
Interested in advocacy? Schedule a meeting with your anesthesiology state component society! This is a great way to get involved in organized medicine. Here, you can learn about the top issues currently facing your state within the field of anesthesiology, determine what is being done, and how students can get involved in the process! Often, state societies have structured events where they go to the capitol and petition for issues that are pertinent to the specialty. Find out what your state is advocating for and help your peers determine if organized medicine is something they wish to pursue in their career.
Time commitment: Low. 1 hour meeting
Contacts needed: Reach out to your state component society and determine who can come to your event. Many state components have a “contact us” form on their website that you can utilize to make the initial connection.
Structure: This will also likely be a Q+A session. Encourage your participating students to read up on organized medicine within anesthesia before the start of this meeting.
- How can we get involved as medical students?
- What are ways you continue to advocate for our specialty as a state component society?
- Why did you choose to join?
- What are your top concerns for our specialty currently in our state? What is being done to mitigate these concerns?
- What have been the top projects for the state component this year?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of related to your involvement in the state component?
Meet with the Foundation of Education and Research (FAER)
The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) hosts an eight week summer internship titled Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowships (MSARF)
where students who are interested in pursuing research within anesthesia are paired with a host institution to work on an anesthesia specific research project. This is a fantastic program for students between their M1 and M2 years who are curious to see if anesthesia, specifically academic anesthesia with an emphasis on research, is something they want to incorporate into their career. This meeting can provide students with information on MSARF, hear personal testaments to how the program helped other medical students, and if selected, help students obtain more exposure to the field of research with possible publications at the end of the summer.
Time Commitment: Low. 1 hour meeting.
Contacts needed: Reach out to any students at your school who have previously been involved with the FAER MSARF research program. If you do not have any students at your school, email [email protected]
to ask if they can recommend any students to speak about their experience.
Structure: Brief presentation from the student summarizing their summer (project introduction, clinical shadowing, mentorship etc) followed by a Q+A session from the attending students.
- Why did you apply to this research program?
- What was your experience regarding research exposure in this program?
- Is it required to have research exposure prior to the application?
- How do I apply and get selected to FAER?
- Who should consider applying to this program?
- What are some of the benefits included with the program?
- Should I do this if I am not interested in research?
- Should I apply to this program if I’m not sure if I want to be an anesthesiologist?
- Describe how this program has altered your plans for your career
- Describe the relationships that you were able to obtain due to this program.