jetproppilot

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Hey Folks,
Found this website and decided to post after reading some of the posts. I'm currently Chief of Anesthesia at a hospital in Louisiana. Residency at Tulane 1992-1996.
For all residents out there, PRIVATE PRACTICE IS GREAT, considering all the changes medicine is undergoing. Working with and watching one's surgical colleagues reenforces what a great pick anesthesia is.
I remember the grind of residency, and what a downer it is, but remember it is a means to an end- and you WILL get to the end. The more cases you do, and the more stuff you do by yourself (after you are taught, of course), the easier your matriculation into the private world will be.
Yes, CA-1 and CA-2 years are rough, but not compared to the call you see general surgery, ortho, and neurosurg dudes doing.
Most people going into anesthesia like medicine, but they like life too. The lifestyle of an anesthesiologist, in general, far surpasses that of surgeons. More time to watch your kids grow up or engage in your favorite past-time.
SO, as I enter my eighth year of practice, I'm still glad I picked anesthesia.
Very interesting work, great pay, great lifestyle.
 

MD Dreams

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jetproppilot said:
Hey Folks,
Found this website and decided to post after reading some of the posts. I'm currently Chief of Anesthesia at a hospital in Louisiana. Residency at Tulane 1992-1996.
For all residents out there, PRIVATE PRACTICE IS GREAT, considering all the changes medicine is undergoing. Working with and watching one's surgical colleagues reenforces what a great pick anesthesia is.
I remember the grind of residency, and what a downer it is, but remember it is a means to an end- and you WILL get to the end. The more cases you do, and the more stuff you do by yourself (after you are taught, of course), the easier your matriculation into the private world will be.
Yes, CA-1 and CA-2 years are rough, but not compared to the call you see general surgery, ortho, and neurosurg dudes doing.
Most people going into anesthesia like medicine, but they like life too. The lifestyle of an anesthesiologist, in general, far surpasses that of surgeons. More time to watch your kids grow up or engage in your favorite past-time.
SO, as I enter my eighth year of practice, I'm still glad I picked anesthesia.
Very interesting work, great pay, great lifestyle.
Everything about anesthesia sounds great but I'm afraid that I'll get bored. I understand that there is a lot of thinking involved behind the curtain, but isn't this more so during training when everything is new? Doesn't it become routine after so many years to the point that it becomes boring?

Also, are you comfortable with being behind the scenes. Do you find yourself ever longing to be in the spotlight --maybe like the surgeon who just took out the tumore --or getting more praise from the patient?

I'm not trying to disrespect anesthesia in any way, just a couple of questions that have been bothering me. Thank you.
 

UTSouthwestern

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One thing I learned on the job interview trail is that there are so many types of practices available that you can easily pick any style you like. For example, in Dallas, there are a few groups that do only ortho and plastic cases, with each partner making around $400K, having good vacation time, and being out of the hospital by 4 pm on most days. Then there is the opposite spectrum in several groups that cover trauma, hearts, and/or liver transplants. My 20th liver transplant last night was a massive transfusion, coagulopathy fest that kept me on my toes for 4 and a half hours that went by like it was 10 minutes. Every major system had to be evaluated, monitored, and treated and by the end, every system was working within normal limits, whereas at the beginning of the case, none were within normal limits.

You decide how you want to tailor your practice and that is the beauty of anesthesiology. Want more spotlight? Go the CV anesthesia/critical care pathway. Anesthesiologists have pioneered a multitude of interventions and therapies in critical care and remain in the thick of critical care research and practice. Pain management will give you a private office and your own patients who will be extremely grateful for what you can provide if you want to gravitate in that direction. Want to just do your job, make a great living, and go home with no call or pager responsibilities? Plenty of those opportunities around (the norm in fact, not the exception).

Flexibility is something that cannot be understated about this specialty and your training will provide you the opportunity to do any one of them or all of them, without beating the joy out of you that some other specialties' residencies typically do. If you pick your specialty because of your interest and knowing that you will enjoy what you do, you will always come out a winner in this race.
 

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MD Dreams said:
Also, are you comfortable with being behind the scenes. Do you find yourself ever longing to be in the spotlight --maybe like the surgeon who just took out the tumore --or getting more praise from the patient?
In addition to what UTSouthwestern has said (who is among the most erudite and well-informed contributors to this forum... and whose posts I closely read and always take to heart), all I can say - as someone who will be finding out this week where I will be spending the next four years of my life - I think you've underscored one of the biggest misconceptions of being an anesthesiologist, namely being "behind the scenes" during a case.

Great anethesiologists - even just "good" anesthesiologists - I have seen and have worked with are not order takers, secondary citizens, or otherwise background players in the OR. Quite the contrary, they establish themselves as a critical member of the team - and, especially during big cases, are respected and relied upon to keep things going smoothly during the procedure. I've seen several examples, as well, where the anesthesiologist has offered advice or suggestions when a surgeon encounters a problem on the "other side of the curtain". Remember, anesthesiologists get to see many different hands tackle the same problems, and are well read on the procedures. After all, they are responsible for providing the appropriate level of care for the given procedure.

Likewise, the anesthesiologist is the first and last face that the patient sees before and after they wake up. When they come into pre-op area, the anesthesiologist is often the first face the anxious patient sees before the procedure. That 10-15 minutes... taking a brief history, assessing the patient, starting the IV, reassuring the patient... can be an incredibly intense and rewarding experience for both the patient and the anesthesiologist. A friend of mine in school who had a tonsillectomy when she was six-years-old told me that the only thing she remembers from the procedure is the anesthesiologist singing "It's a Small World" to her as she drifted off to sleep. Tell me, after hearing that, that we are "not in the spotlight" or we can't have an impact on our patients.

Like many other disciplines within the medical field, I think you have to be called to becoming an anesthesiologist. It's not for everyone, clearly, and if you are drawn to it solely for the perceived lifestyle and monetary benefits, you may be bored or disappointed. For me, I like focusing on one problem in front of me, and garnering the rewards of seeing a case from start to finish. If you are geared more towards establishing relationships with patients, then general anesthesiology may not be the field for you... unless you go into Pain Management.

Overall, I don't think the misconception that the anesthesiologist is a background player is at all true. If you are in school, try to do some rotations in departments where anesthesiologists run the SICU, where there are difficult and complex surgical cases (e.g., liver transplants, cardiac bypass, etc.) or where there is a big pain management service. This may change your perception.

Good luck on whichever discipline you ultimately choose to pursue during your residency. For me, I know that anesthesiology is not only the right choice, it's the only choice.

-Skip
 

MD Dreams

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Thank you for your inputs, everyone. You guys are getting me so pumped up. I wish I were already in your shoes, soon enough hopefully. I definitely enjoy taking care of people, but I don't want a long term relationship with my patients, and I don't want to manage chronic issues as the medical folk s do. I also love the rush, I need the rush to be happy. Therefore, I've always considered surgery in the past. But I don't want to be miserable either, and I'm afraid surgery may do that to me. However, from what I have learned about anesthesia, it is definitely on top of my list. I think if I do go this route, I will definitely have to do CV/critical care. Please keep the good info coming. Thanks.
 

Capsaicin

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UTSouthwestern said:
One thing I learned on the job interview trail is that there are so many types of practices available that you can easily pick any style you like. For example, in Dallas, there are a few groups that do only ortho and plastic cases, with each partner making around $400K, having good vacation time, and being out of the hospital by 4 pm on most days. Then there is the opposite spectrum in several groups that cover trauma, hearts, and/or liver transplants. My 20th liver transplant last night was a massive transfusion, coagulopathy fest that kept me on my toes for 4 and a half hours that went by like it was 10 minutes. Every major system had to be evaluated, monitored, and treated and by the end, every system was working within normal limits, whereas at beginning of the case, none were within normal limits.

You decide how you want to tailor your practice and that is the beauty of anesthesiology. Want more spotlight? Go the CV anesthesia/critical care pathway. Anesthesiologists have pioneered a multitude of interventions and therapies in critical care and remain in the thick of critical care research and practice. Pain management will give you a private office and your own patients who will be extremely grateful for what you can provide if you want to gravitate in that direction. Want to just do your job, make a great living, and go home with no call or pager responsibilities? Plenty of those opportunities around (the norm in fact, not the exception).

Flexibility is something that cannot be understated about this specialty and your training will provide you the opportunity to do any one of them or all of them, without beating the joy out of you that some other specialties' residencies typically do. If you pick your specialty because of your interest and knowing that you will enjoy what you do, you will always come out a winner in this race.

Great post, Southwestern. That is the type of pep talk I'll look at again when things get tough intern and CA-1 year...really appreciate the CA-3 perspective you've given here through this process. And I hope to see many of the rest of you applicants on this MB as we move forward into residency to keep up the dialogue and exchange of ideas.

Best of luck to all!

:cool:
 

IceDoc

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OK, so if you went through the effort of making a name of Jetproppilot I'm presuming you fly? And moreso, what kind of turboprop can a physician afford? Something like a Mirage? Oh well, I'll keep to my Warrior and dream of the flight levels for some other time.
 
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jetproppilot

jetproppilot

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I came from an airline family. My dad flew for TWA for 37 years. His last 10 years were spent in the left seat of a 747 flying the polar route to Heathrow. My mom was a flight attendant. My uncle flew F4s in Vietnam. Yep, flying kinda flows in my blood! I've got about 700 hours; 150 in a Cheyenne and some scattered King Air 200 hours.
IceDoc said:
OK, so if you went through the effort of making a name of Jetproppilot I'm presuming you fly? And moreso, what kind of turboprop can a physician afford? Something like a Mirage? Oh well, I'll keep to my Warrior and dream of the flight levels for some other time.