This was somewhat interesting and i thought i would post it for all to comment on:
It isn't at all what I thought it was, and I'm fairly dissapointed. I used to think the anesthesiologists just sat there with their hand on a dial and it was sort of a fluff job. I tried to get myself away from that sort of thinking. "The CRNAs are the ones that do that... Anesthesiologists have to interview patients, choose which methods and drugs to use, etc." And I believed all that for a pretty long time. The anesthesiolgists are running from OR to OR putting people under and waking them up. Running codes and saving lives.
I'm really pretty depressed about it. In the reality of what I saw, the CRNAs did almost all of the work to speak of. They intubated, controlled the drugs, monitored, and then woke them up. The guy I shadowed just sort of supervised. Sure they guy was smart as hell and knew his ****. During the interviews and pre-op he could assess all the lab results and nurse's notes in a matter of minutes. "Platelets are low, RBC are low, psychosis dilirium, coughing up green mucus. He probably has pneumonia. We listen to his lungs. Yep, pneumonia. Send him to pulmonary to get him cleaned up, we can't operate." But really after that, there was a lot of sitting around.
As far as the anesthesia part went, he had me watch 2-3 CRNA's intubate: an obese, a ped, and an elderly. I asked some questions about the drugs, he answered. I asked more about intubation and he showed me some videos and went over some of the techniques, how to know you're in the right tube, etc. Other than that, we spent a lot of time in the anesthesiologist's lounge. There were 2 anesthesiologists that day and a lot of times both were in that lounge. After a while he just took me from OR to OR to watch different surgeries and called it a day.
I hate to say it, but the whole day I was there, he really didn't do anything. I know it's important for him to be around in case something comes up that a CRNA can't handle, but really there was a lot of standing around when there wasn't anything to do.
The reason I bring this all up is because I've always wanted to do anesthesiology. People have tried to talk me out of it, but I never listened. I hated watching the CRNAs suffle papers periodically just to appear busy (it was obvious. I have a useless job right now and I occasionaly get asked why I even need to be there. Which honestly, sometimes I wonder myself.) I really want a job where I feel I have a purpose, and the team would be much worse off without me. I want to be indespensable. Sitting around in the lounge for 20-30mins at a time with the doctor I was shadowing just made me think a lot. I watched a laproscopic gastric bypass. I was talking to the GI surgeon afterwards and asked if today (yesterday) was a slow day by most standars. "No, I've been going at it since 4am. I won't get to see the outside of the operating area for another 8 hours."
I totally appreciate the opportunity to shadow a doctor, but I guess this just sort of opened my eyes. I know his son, and he says that his dad goes crazy not having anything to do. He's actually gotten in trouble for picking up a mop and cleaning up the anesthesiology office. It sounds like a nice lifestyle, but I just don't know if I can do that. Seeing teams of surgeons working together to finish a case and seeing the CRNA off by himself next to his machine... The anesthesiologist only making a brief appearance before and after the surgeries, and then only to supervise.
Maybe this isn't the normal case at all (be sure to correct me if I'm wrong) but after what I've seen that day and read what I have on this forum about anthesiologist groups and a lot of general attitudes, anesthesiology no longer has any appeal to me. Despite the sacrifices needed, I really want to do surgery now.
Feel free to discuss. Sorry this post got so long.