Department of Anesthesiology

Day in the Life: CA-1 at Ben Taub OR


Item Term
By Molly Kudela, M.D.

Item Definition

I arrive at Ben Taub between 6 and 6:15 a.m., change into a fresh pair of scrubs, drop my bag off in the resident lounge then head to pharmacy to grab my drugs for the first case.

On any particular day, I can be working with plastic surgery, ENT, orthopedics, general surgery, OMFS or gynecology. On select days, I might be paired with a CA-3 to do the cardiothoracic cases which requires extra time for set up, so I’ll get to Ben Taub between 5:30-5:45 a.m. Today, I’m in the ENT room and have a variety of cases: parotid lobectomy followed by tracheostomy for floor-of-the-mouth squamous cell carcinoma.

Once I’ve picked up my drugs, I head to the OR to set up the room. I complete my machine check, gather my airway equipment, and draw up my drugs. I briefly go over the cases for the day and review what my attending and I talked about the night before. After the room set up is done, I head to the pre-op holding area and greet my patient. The pre-op holding area is bustling with people before the first cases: OR nurses are completing their patient assessment and surgeons are marking laterality all while I work on placing an IV. My attending meets me in pre-op holding and we confirm the plan for the day. Once the OR is ready, I roll the patient back around 7:25 a.m. We timeout with the OR staff at 7:30 a.m. and get ready for induction and intubation.

Around 9 a.m. after incision, someone offers me my morning break. I handoff to the resident, attending or CRNA, and then head to the resident lounge for a morning snack and social time with other residents on break. However, 15 minutes fly by so fast, and I am quickly back in the OR. The first case takes about three hours. Once we have emerged and extubated the patient, I roll the patient to PACU and then prepare for our second case. I ask our anesthesia technicians to set up the fiber optic cart – we’re performing an asleep fiber optic intubation. Depending on the caseload for the day, I get relieved by the call team between 3-4 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I head to the Baylor campus for CA-1 lectures that start at 4 p.m. and last until between 5-6 p.m. Before lecture, I squeeze in a quick chart review for the next day’s assignments and call my attending to briefly discuss the plan for the next day. After lecture, I’m back home by 5:30-6:15 p.m., fit in a run or work out at the gym, eat dinner while watching my favorite Netflix show, and take one last look at tomorrow’s cases before I call it a day at 10 p.m.