alternate specialty choices


15+ Year Member
May 6, 2003
closing out my med3 year i've really taken an interest in anesthesiology.....i really like nephrology and psychiatry too...i really dislike em, peds, fp, radiology, any surgery....i was wondering what specialties attacted and repulsed those now somehow pursuing anesthesiology as a career/specialty choice...and congrats to those who've recently matched!


Junior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2003
There are several things that attracted me to anesthesiology.
I hated clinics, and knew that I wanted to be in the hospital environment. I also wanted a specialty with acuity, rather than waiting 3 months to see if an outpatient med worked, in anesthesia you work with acute situations and can see results of what you do right away. I loved peds and OB/Gyn and anesthesia allowed be to be involved in both of these. I also really liked surgery anc surgical ICU. I think overall you need to like surgery, Ob/Gyn and peds in order to like anesthesia because these are your patients. I did not like psychiatry or family practice/gen med/clinic.


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2003
North Carolina
I agree. I dislike clinic and all the social issues and noncompliance that comes with it. I always told myself that I could settle for IM if I didn't find anything else, but I really would have been miserable. I seriously considered OB/Gyn and I still really like the field but I was discouraged from it because of the lifestyle and malpractice issues. I found myself getting anxious and upset when I thought about going into it. I want to have a family and a career and I was worried about my ability to do both to my satisfaction if I chose OB/Gyn. I really enjoy being in the OR and seeing all the cool things, but I don't need to be the one doing the surgery. The surgeons tend to get the glory of the case and the anesthesiologists are the ones that don't. I think in general anesthesiologists who don't need external validation will ultimately be more satisfied with their career.
I also dislike being in the ED. I'm good at multitasking but would prefer to concentrate on one patient and don't like the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to come through the door.
Psych is interesting but I just couldn't deal with the patients. I am infuriated by the addicts who are in denial and try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to everyone around them.
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1K Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2003
  1. Attending Physician
I'm only an MS-3, also quite interested in anesthesia. Reading the previous 2 posts has been like deja vu from my own thoughts. The one thing that I hadn't experienced though, granted maybe due to my lack of experience, is the difference in respect that pts give to the surgeon vs the anesthesiologist (the "glorification" of the surgeon). I really got the impression that patients felt very close to the anesthesia MD, mostly b/c that's the last person they see before they go to sleep and the first person they see when they wake up. Many times, they don't even SEE the surgeon during the procedure. I absolutely LOVED making that rapport with the patients.

Also, anesthesia can get a lot of "glory" when rescuing a coding patient, no?

I also just finished my neuro rotation, which I surprisingly very much enjoyed. Like others here said, though, I dislike clinic, although my experience in neuro clinic has been more interesting than in other types of clinics. The one major reason I don't want to do neuro is that although making the dx is so interesting, there's often not too much you can do about it--just watch and wait. . .wait for the pt to either miraculously get better, or watch them die. I experienced both situations, and the latter is an awful, awful experience.

With codes, at least you're DOING things to help the patient, even if pt doesn't ultimately make it.


New Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2004
I think a lot of people reach the decision to pursue anesthesiology through a process of elimination, ultimately the high salary and relatively benign lifestyle present too much of an enticement, more than enough to compensate for some of the inherent shortcomings of the field. Not many people were able to gain a proper exposure to the field before giving it serious consideration, I used my anesthesia week during the surgery rotation mostly to knock off a couple hundred pages of Surgical Recall. "Intubate that patient? Do I have to?" In retrospect, I like the diversity, both in practice setting and patient population, and the flexibility, including the ability to work part-time and change jobs easily, of the field. I've also found that time tends to pass by a lot faster in the OR, anesthesiologists tend to be pretty cool people.

I was fascinated by the idea of psychiatry, but when my first patient started slapping himself midway through my history, I knew that was it. Pediatrics was something I considered as well, but the social work involved would be too difficult to handle in my opinion. Other hospital-based specialties that I had considered all have their inherent drawbacks such as lack of patient contact, high burnout rate, and severe gross factor. J/K. Anesthesia is a good field, I hope. You work hard but you have fun.
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