ButterButter

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My apologies if this question has been asked and sufficiently answered in this forum previously. I didn't find any good info on my initial search.

I'm currently rotating in anesthesia at a busy hospital and am placed with a different attending everyday. So far, I have yet to work with the same attending twice. We have 24 ORs run by 24 CRNAs and 8 anesthesiologists. There are ~24 anesthesiologists in the group. I'm nearing the end of my rotation and am hoping to get a letter, but don't feel I've worked with a single attending long enough to get a good letter. So far everyone has given me great feedback. The anesthesiologist that coordinates the rotation has been out of town for two weeks of my 4 week rotation, so he barely knows me as well. I'm curious if anyone else has been in a similar situation and wondering what I should do.

About me: applying to anesthesia this year, slightly above average board scores, DO school, research, good grades, top 20% of the class. I already have 1 letter from an anesthesiologist from a third year elective and letters from ob/gyn, IM and neurology.
 

algosdoc

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Lunch, lunch lunch! Arrange either in or out of rotation going to lunch with one of the principle players in the group during their lunch 30 min and ask if they would mind if you chat with them about anesthesiology. That is you chance to make an impression, then ask for a letter of recommendation within the month so they will remember you.
 
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MikeMerk-MtS

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Jan 14, 2015
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My apologies if this question has been asked and sufficiently answered in this forum previously. I didn't find any good info on my initial search.

I'm currently rotating in anesthesia at a busy hospital and am placed with a different attending everyday. So far, I have yet to work with the same attending twice. We have 24 ORs run by 24 CRNAs and 8 anesthesiologists. There are ~24 anesthesiologists in the group. I'm nearing the end of my rotation and am hoping to get a letter, but don't feel I've worked with a single attending long enough to get a good letter. So far everyone has given me great feedback. The anesthesiologist that coordinates the rotation has been out of town for two weeks of my 4 week rotation, so he barely knows me as well. I'm curious if anyone else has been in a similar situation and wondering what I should do.

About me: applying to anesthesia this year, slightly above average board scores, DO school, research, good grades, top 20% of the class. I already have 1 letter from an anesthesiologist from a third year elective and letters from ob/gyn, IM and neurology.
Whoever the highest ranking person in the department is, I'd sit down with him/her and try to work with him/her for at least 1 or 2 days. Attendings can get a sense of your work ethic and base of knowledge pretty quickly, so you don't need to work with him/her for a whole week. But, if they're gonna put any details into your LOR instead of making it the same one they wrote for the past 20 students, I'd work with him/her and I'd work my butt off. Also, do NOT get one from IM, neuro and OB/gyn. You need at least 2 from anesthesiology or else it will seem as anesthesia is an after-thought or that nobody wanted to write you a letter or that you didn't work well enough with an anesthesiologist to be comfortable asking for a letter or that you were too lazy to ask for one. Either way, red flag.
 
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nimbus

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For medical students interested in anesthesia, the best way to get a letter from an anesthesiologist is to do an ICU rotation in an anesthesia run ICU. There you will have some responsibility and significant interaction with anesthesiologists during the endless ICU rounds. The OR is not a great place to make any sort of impression as a medical student. We get some transitional interns coming through our operating rooms, and the ones who make the best impression are the ones who are relaxed, have nothing to prove, and are just genuinely interested in learning. Often you will just be a hindrance and get in the way if you try to be too "helpful". Do the anesthesia rotation for yourself to observe what the anesthesiologists do and to ask questions. I really don't see how a medical student can really contribute by "working their butt off".

And any letter from someone who knows you well is worth sending, especially IM.
 
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MikeMerk-MtS

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At the end of the day, if nimbus' advice works for you then great. I've worked with students for many years and have been on committees for the past few. I can definitely tell the difference between a good student and a bad student even after 2 hours in the OR, and my LORs reflect that (although I will never give a bad LOR, I will just not give a 10/10 strong one if the applicant doesn't deserve it). "Working your butt off" means coming in early and setting up the room (showing initiative), coming prepared for the cases, having good baseline anesthesia knowledge, asking good questions, working well with the patient and his/her family as well as other staff in the OR, etc. So if nimbus doesn't understand how "working their butt off" can contribute, just know that other people do. Also, we place highest weight on anesthesia LORs... the rest are good but not as useful b/c an IM hospitalist won't have the same incite into what will make a good anesthesia resident as an anesthesia attending would.
 
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Carbocation1

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Bottom line - is no IM letter ok for categorical anesthesia? How about prelims?
 

Bru

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I did 3 anesthesia and 1 EM for all my categoricals and it worked fine (although I guess I'll never know if I didn't get interviews at some places b/c of this). For prelims, I used a medicine departmental. Didn't really apply to many of those however.
 

Aurum

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Just as a counterpoint, our program director advocates sending no more than two anesthesia letters, as IM/surgery/what have you letters often give a fuller picture of the applicant.
 

Bru

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Yeah honestly I would have preferred a wider range but I picked my best letters and they happened to be those. I tried for a ICU IM letter but it never panned out or more rather I didn't think the letter I would get would surpass the quality of my others. I would put quality > variety.
 
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