December 14, 2002 at 9:46 pm #91699
:wave: Hope that you are enjoying my diary? I’m working on an entry on my observances of anesthesiologists. I’ve noticed that they are among the favorite people in the L&D ward! I remember feeling in awe after I had my epidural, and that pretty much cemented my desire to go into medicine!
If you are an anesthesiologist, why did you pick this specialty? What do you like about the job? How do patients respond to you?
As a patient what have been your interactions with anesthesiologists? Did you have an epidural, how did you feel towards them afterwards?!
Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say!
SandraDecember 15, 2002 at 9:22 am #91700
I am glad to see that you are interested in anesthesiology. 😀 This specialty as some others are sometimes overlooked by medical students. I did. 🙁 When I started my 3rd year of med school I was looking forward to choose my specialty. But the only thing I could do was to decide what not to do. I thought pediatrics was mainly dealing with moms, surgery was too long, pyramidal and women were not very well received, internal medicine seemed interesting… if you were to stay at a university hospital- if not you will see many diabetics who will not follow their diets, pts. with high blood pressure not taking their pills, etc. OB/Gyn… only liked it at the time to deliver a baby, but hated to check the patients. So, not much more left I thought. I finally decided to go to the ER and started a group interested in Emergency Medicine and ended up doing my internship in that specialty. One of the rotations during that internship, though, was anesthesiology. That first week of the month rotation I found what I REALLY wanted to do. The thing is that in my 4th year of med school I was exposed only to the pharmachology of anesthetics drugs, but never realized about the procedures and the contact with patients that even if it is limited it is there (as in L&D and in the pre surgical evaluation of the patient). This has some advantages and disadvantages, but is what I like. I was lucky to know of an open position for the second year (you need a first year of internal medicine, surgery, transitional or emergency medicine -lucky me!!- for many programs) and did not lose any time. So that’s how I ended up beign an anesthesiologist.
I gotta go now, but I promise I’ll answer your other questions later and any other questions that you might have. You are welcome to PM me too.
Let me know, too, a little more about you. Pre-med student?, med student?. From what you wrote I am guessing you have a kid(s)?
All right. I’ll write some more later,
PS. Don’t worry….I found out that you have a diary. I’ll read it too. Bye :wave:December 16, 2002 at 5:17 am #91702
Thanks Dr Sleep! Yes, I’m interested in this speciality. Yep, I’m a premed with two kids! ANYTHING you have to share about this specialty would be great!
SandraDecember 19, 2002 at 10:00 am #91703
OK….. I’ll go on with what do I like about my job. In one sentence……I’m like taking away the pain. It doesn’t matter if it is surgery pain, labor pain, or cancer pain (which I don’t deal much with that in my practice). When I did my emergency medicine internship there was always a fear of giving pain medication because of many reasons….. drug addicts that will fake pain syndromes for narcotics, respiratory depression, etc. But in my month rotation of anesthesia I was released from those fears. Patients are looking forward for you to either put them to sleep or not to feel the pain from the procedure. You give enough (which was plenty more than I used to in the ER) and take control of handling the releif of their pain. And in anesthesia you are taught to control the airway. I loved that part too. Airway management….when a patient is not breathing (because s(he) is asleep or depressed) you control that breathing. It can be very simple many times but it can be an art with some patients and finally a challenge with others. But after you learn to do it you go to any other department with the feeling that you can handle the airway and breathing of almost any patient and maintain their life.
Ahh! But let’s not forget the procedures. Central venous lines, arterial lines, spinal and epidural blocks, axillary blocks. I don’t do many blocks now in private practice (I think mostly it is because of lack of education of patients and fear of surgeons of delaying their cases), except for Labor and Delivery and c-sections.
Finally, control. It may not sound good, but I would have been very frustated with other specialties in which the outcome depended more of the control of the patient and they couldn’t handle it- diabetics not following their diets, patients not taking their medications. In anesthesia your job is mainly short term so you see the beginning and end of your job. And you have most of the time that control and the solution of the patients needs.
What I don’t like about my job. There are not many places in which you have the chance to see your patients a day or days before the surgery, so you don’t get to know them that well. You have a short time prior to surgery to ask what is relevant for you to know to take good care of them. They don’t get that big connection with you and gives you little chance to teach them a litlle bit more about many things. They will probably remember you as the person who was behind them that put something in their IV to “put them to sleep” if they remember you at all. And if something doesn’t go as planned (and beleive me……it will happen) you don’t get that trust that you would have had if you had the chance to know them and let them know you and what you do. The only time in which this is different is when you place an epidural on patients in labor. You become immediately thier best friend as soon as their pain is releived. Also there are those surgeries that are done with sedation in which the patient is afraid because (s)he was not put to sleep. And then they are recovering memory after the procedure is finished and they ask if the surgeons has started or not… I love to see those surprised faces stating: So… we are done??? I didn’t feel a thing or I don’t remember a thing” and instantly all their fears are gone.
Anesthesiology involves much more though. During the surgery you are the one in charge of keeping the patient, not only alive but in good health. There is a lot of critical care involved, mostly that there is a large population of patients with many diseases that are undergoing a lot of procedures and what you do is give them a bunch of medications that affects their health status. I sometimes call my career ‘clinical toxicology’. And don’t be fooled…. an easy case for a surgeon might not be an easy case for an anesthesiologist and viceversa. You may take care of patient that needs an emergent surgery to stabilize a broken hip fracture that might take the surgeon less than 15-20 minutes, but the patient is an elderly with emphysema, who uses oxygen at home, had a recent open heart surgery, history of diabetes, high blood pressure which have not been under control and taking aspirin daily. And this is pretty much a frequent emergency when you are on call. There is high risk for this patient related to the anesthesia….Or you can have a young patient with no history of any illness that can tolerate the most distressing factors and the surgeon might have a hard time doing his or her surgery.
I can tell you that I enjoy a lot my career. But it is a matter of preferences. There is many medical students that would not be happy if they choose a career with little direct contact with their patients and be frustrated because they are not known to their patients as “the doctor who took care of me”, even if they did.
I hope you enjoyed reading this whole message (or was it a novel?) and helps you get a better idea of what anesthesiology involves.
DanaDecember 19, 2002 at 7:52 pm #91704MomMDParticipant
On behalf of all our members I want to sincerely THANK YOU for writing this excellent description of your job. This kind of post is truly invaluable. THANK YOU!
MomMD PresidentDecember 27, 2002 at 11:47 am #91706DuckParticipant
I am still completing post-bac. requirements…I just wanted to say thanks for giving me something else to consider (speciality. It’s great to get the good, bad, and ugly from a true professional. Are there many women in the field?
DuckJanuary 9, 2003 at 3:37 am #91707
Hi everyone: :wave:
I was going to write some more and earlier, but I’m on bed rest (due to those two peanuts inside of me). My computer is on the second floor so if I get to it I usually see my e-mails and unfrequently I am getting to the boards. But wanted to let you know that if you have some specific questions and if you are actually seeing patients and want to know more about how the anesthesia would affect that patient just go ahead and post it…. and post it soon. I don’t think that this babies will stay much longer inside of me. And after that….will there be life for me??? 😮
I’ll try to write as much as I can while on leave. Probably I’ll write it first on my bed and transcribe it in a break that I am at the computer.
BTW, Happy New year to everyone and I hope that all your goals are achieved in this new year.
Dana EDD 2/12/03January 21, 2003 at 9:30 pm #91708tmjtysonParticipant
I really enjoyed reading your description of what you do. I had not thought of Anesthesiology until reading your thoughts! I had a C section when my son was born. I remember the Anesthesiologist taking great care of me. He calmed my fears, and I think he was the one reason I kept my sanity. My C section was an emergency after my son’s heartrate dropped to 47. This after my first son was stillborn at 7 months. I can say without a doubt the anesthesiologist was a big part of my delivery. I tell people all the time about how much he helped me. So from all the patients you may not hear from, a great big THANK YOU from me for all the hard work you do!! MTJanuary 24, 2003 at 7:34 pm #91709
Does anyone want to share with me their experiences having an epidural or other anesthesia…… it’s for this piece.
thanks SandraMarch 20, 2003 at 7:40 pm #91711MomMDParticipant
just bumping this up as I see someone had some questions about anesthesiology.
I recommend that you all try the forum search facility and you will find lots of old messages on various topics.
SethinaMarch 30, 2003 at 8:03 pm #91712lillianParticipant
When I had eye surgery years ago, I had a great experience w/ an anesthesiologist. He was very attentive, made sure I wasn’t cold (as I was waiting in the operating room, it was set at the typical temperature, which is COLD), and generally was very caring. I’ve had other surgeries before and after, and thoses experiences were pretty much like this – stick the needle in, shoot in the anesthesia and never knew who put me to sleep. After the surgery, he came into the recovering and checked on me.
It’s the extra care that everyone remembers, I guess.April 1, 2003 at 8:30 am #91713SuzzyQParticipant
Well, i have to say thank you too DrSleep also. You are right, we do take the physicians in your specialty for granted and I didn’t realize it until after I had read your post. Several years ago I had an early miscarrage and had to have a D&C. At the time I didn’t know what that was or what to expect adn of course I was traumatized by losing the baby. My Ob seemed in a hurry to get it over and was more concerned that i was paying out of pocket than she was with me. she didn’t explain anything to me about what to expect. the only one who took the time to see if i was comfortable and to explain exactly what he was doing and what i could expect from it was the anesthesiologist. Thank you for reminding me what a differance he made and for giving me another option for residency.
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