Uju Momah, MS3, UConn School of Medicine
I am the type of student who, going into medical school, had no idea what type of doctor I would become. I have always been open minded to most specialties. Given such, I knew that going into my clinical rotations during third year, I would have the propensity to fall in love with many fields. So far, I have rotated through family medicine, outpatient pediatrics and inpatient pediatrics. I liked my time on family medicine because I enjoyed the variety of cases and the diversity of the patient population. I enjoyed outpatient pediatrics because I found that both the children and their parents were emotionally invested in achieving better health. I liked inpatient pediatrics because each day was a cognitive exercise, in which clinical reasoning and problem solving had to be applied to difficult and often enigmatic cases.
One field of medicine that I have not yet rotated on, however, is the field of anesthesia. I recently completed the American Association of Medical Colleges “Careers in Medicine” Survey and this was one of the specialties that I was matched with. As part of the process of career exploration, UConn encourages medical students to participate in this survey. The survey involves completing a series of 100+ questions designed to evaluate personal approaches to tackling complex clinical problems, comfort with diagnostic precision, desire for emergency and critical care, and preference for patient continuity, among other areas. We are encouraged to complete the survey during both our first year and second years of medical school. Both times, I was matched to anesthesia.
When going through the questions on the survey, I did not expect that the results would point in this direction. However, the more I read up about the specialty and the work that anesthesiologists do, the more I realized that this in fact is a field that is very intriguing and aligned to my persona. In my opinion, anesthesia is a field at the nexus of medicine and surgery. It allows for one to complete hands-on procedures and work quickly on your feet to solve problems. It enables physician teams to not only support the work of surgeons, but also support other areas of hospital medicine, whether that be at the bedside of the patient (e.g., performing intubation) or managing their pain in an outpatient setting.
My first exposure to the field really started this year, as part of my inpatient pediatrics rotation. I had the opportunity to see a pediatric anesthesiologist support their emergency department and surgical colleagues with a facial laceration repair. The laceration was too large to be repaired in a child without sedation, so in this case having an anesthesiologist available was a crucial part of providing care. It was an experience that incorporated aspects of my prior rotations in a way that I had not anticipated: it provided the variety of family medicine; the zeal of pediatrics and the problem solving associated with inpatient medicine.
As I continue through my rotations, I am interested to see where I finally land. I am hopeful that I will land in a specialty that marries the aforementioned qualities. For now, anesthesia is in the running.