New Opportunities for Hands-on Anesthesia Training
Trenton Bawcum, MSII University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) firstname.lastname@example.org, Anesthesiology Interest Group Vice President
The remarkable field of anesthesia can be one of the more challenging specialties to get experience in as a medical student. Not all schools offer a rotation, and with the ones that do, it can be very difficult to secure a spot. Throughout rotations, such as surgery, we may get to see a bit of what an anesthesiologist does but never get the opportunity to see the field for what it really is. Here at UTHSCSA, we have a program that allows second‐ and fourth‐year medical students to participate in a work‐study position as an anesthesia technician. I would like to briefly explain what I have learned and experienced while participating in this program.
Hands‐on experience with the anesthesia machines is at the core of what we do. Becoming comfortable with the O.R., learning how the machines work, and being confident with how to handle situations when these things may fail are just a few of the skills we develop over the time spent in this program. Going into our rotations in the O.R. and even into residency, these experiences will support us in handling the steep learning curve that exists in anesthesia.
Another responsibility that we have is to assist the full‐time technicians, residents and staff physician anesthesiologists in their everyday tasks. Examples include: running blood gas analysis, assembling hot line and arterial line set ups, restocking the O.R. carts with anesthesia materials, and various duties of O.R. turnover. Not only does this further increase our comfort level in the O.R. and with staff, but also gives us significant insight into what anesthesiology is about. We get a chance to observe and assist the people that are in the career that we are striving to achieve.
Lastly, I would like to point out the connections that we make. We have countless conversations with members of the medical team each shift. Forming relationships with these people is one of the most rewarding parts of this job. Building these networks are essential for
students when attempting to find research opportunities, shadowing experience, or even letters of recommendation further down the road.
In conclusion, this program has been a very enjoyable and rewarding part of my early medical education. I have gained irreplaceable experience and have made lasting connections with various members of the anesthesiology team. I would highly recommend that all medical schools strive to find ways such as this program to allow medical students opportunities early on in their education to get a close look at specialties that are not widely available in the third and fourth years.
Posted winter 2016