Jul 17, 2009
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Hey all-

I've read a lot of this board, and I realize it's difficult to predict the future and such... but as someone who is graduating with an absurd debt from college and med school, it's important for me to address certain topics of future income and job security, in addition to finding a specialty that I love. To combine a number of concerns that have been discussed (the impact of midlevel practioners upon MD income/job stability, the future of health care reform, magical anesthesia robots of the world of tomorrow, etc)...

For current anesthesia attendings or residents, would you still advise an MS3 interested in pursuing anesthesia to do so? What do you regard as the most significant benefits and headaches of being an anesthesiologist in practice in 20 years?
 

Sergio99

ASA Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2010
203
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Attending Physician
Hello,

Your question is a very good one and we would be very happy to answer it, except that there are in this forum countless threads dealing with this very same issue. I recommend you read a few more threads before engaging us in a repeat performance of a repeat performance of a repeat performance.

Please don't take this as ill will. If you have a specific question not addressed in the majority of the other discussions, feel free to ask, but the generalities you mentioned have been addressed in a multitude of discussions already. Get into those threads and participate in the conversation.

Regarding the prediction of the situation in 20 years, no one can give you that.
 

happyabe

10+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2007
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I think you're asking very pertinent questions. Let me give you my 2 cents...

When I was an MS3, I was convinced by many that anesthesia is a great field to enter for a number of reasons: financial, job security, procedures, etc. So before I ever actually did a rotation in anesthesia, I had a perception of the field that was likely distorted. I will tell you why...

As a medical student, I would walk in, ask a resident/attg if I could intubate, get the chance to intubate, and hear a short lecture on propfol, and then out the room I'd go. So you get to do the procedures, but never have to sit around afterwards to deal with all the other stuff. So when I began residency, I was shocked at having to deal with all the other BS and somewhat overwhelmed. A few months in, I realized I chose this field for the wrong reasons. I chose this field for reasons that were bestowed upon me a few doctors who thought that making money was the key to success. Needless to say, if you become an anesthesiologist, you will make an ample amount of money, but make sure you would actually enjoy what you will do for the next 30, or so, years of your life.

Other fields like medicine, offer medical students a better view of what it's like to be in the field after medical school. Your perception is not distorted, AS MUCH. So choose carefully. Don't choose anesthesia thinking it offers an easy residency, as it doesn't. No one told me that some day, I would have to do 2-3 preops after a long day at work. Not to mention, that some of those preops are for CRNAs. No one mentioned all the BS I would have to put up with from the surgeons. No one mentioned how the nursing staff sees us as inferior compared to the surgeons. But this is crap I could adjust to, and get used to. What I don't like is being stuck in an OR all day. So make sure you can enjoy that, because if you can, then this field has a lot to offer. I hope this helps.
 

Sergio99

ASA Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2010
203
1
41
Los Angeles
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Attending Physician
Hello again,

I am sorry for my previous somewhat rough posting, but I thought I will let you know a little more about anesthesia, so here I am again.

The scientific side of it is wonderful. Every case is like being in a physiology lab and having fun with experiments. Every intervention has immediate feedback. Everything works like a clock. You do things nobody else can do. You know that the surgery could not be done without you.

However, there is also the side described by Happyabe, which often makes you wonder why not hang everything and go away.

As someone else said in another thread, in the operating room you are not "The Man," but you "work for" The Man, who happens to be the surgeon (see the post by Narcotized at http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=710595). The patient doesn't know you, he didn't choose you, he will forget you soon and when your bill arrives, he will wonder who may have sent it, until he realizes that there was an anesthesiologist and that must be the origin of the bill.

Of course, some of us can work with this tension, and some can't. If you need more recognition and human interaction, anesthesia may prove to be agonizing, but if you can take it, it may be a wonderful specialty.