As we can all attest, one of the biggest stressors of medical school is deciding which specialty to pursue when applying for residency. It is common for nearly all medical students to fret over the decision of a specialty and wonder if they will be happy in the long run. This stress is understandable considering the fairly limited scope of training that most residencies offer.
However, the students who have chosen to pursue training through a residency in anesthesiology are able to rest a little easier. With more than 15 fellowships to choose from, graduates of anesthesiology residencies have a greater variety of work settings and subspecialties than almost any other residency offered. In short, one of the greatest strengths of training in anesthesiology is the freedom of choice.
Throughout four years, anesthesiology residents are introduced to many different practice settings, patient populations, work environments and multiple applications for the skillset they are learning. After exposure to the multitude of different opportunities within anesthesiology, the residents are much more familiar with their preferences and strengths and are able to make more informed decisions about which subspecialty is right for them. Armed with this new information, fourth-year residents are then able to tailor their future careers by taking advantage of one of the many fellowship programs available.
To most medical students, the idea of anesthesiology offering a wide array of training opportunities is completely foreign. In fact, even those who are familiar with the profession may be surprised by the variety of options for fellowships that can be seen on the following list.
FELLOWSHIPS BY TYPE
- Anesthesia Acupuncture
- Adult Critical Care
- Advanced Clinical Anesthesia
- Anesthesia Global Health
- Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology
- Neurological Critical Care
- Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
- OB Anesthesia
Regional and Ambulatory Anesthesia
As anybody can imagine, the breadth of interests that can be served by the above list of fellowships is astounding. Somebody interested in pediatrics can pursue a career in pediatric critical care or pediatric anesthesia. Both options will provide the opportunity to work with pediatric patients, but offer very different experiences depending on your preferences. What better career could there be for a person with intense interest in hemodynamics and blood flow than cardiothoracic anesthesia? Imagine being able to stop people’s hearts, run their blood supply through a bypass machine to keep them alive during an eight-hour operation only to bring them back at the appropriate time. Perhaps high-stakes trauma is all that will hold somebody’s attention. Properly trained trauma anesthesiologists are masters at resuscitation and are generally a critical member of the trauma team at most level one trauma centers.
Finally, if you crave a slower paced lifestyle with regular hours, technically challenging work and great pay, pain medicine might be exactly what you are looking for.
Throughout the coming year, we will be highlighting several of the available fellowships in our newsletters in order to provide more specific information about the training and the career opportunities that each of them can provide. Armed with this additional information, it is our hope that students interested in anesthesiology will feel confident knowing that they have chosen a career with so many options available to them after residency. And perhaps the next time a fellow student is feeling particularly stressed about which residency they should pursue, you can help them to take a deep breath and then permanently relieve their anxiety by pointing them toward a career in anesthesiology.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) provides a list of accredited programs and sponsoring institutions at the https://www.acgme.org/ads/public ACGME website.