Categorical anesthesiology residents are introduced to anesthesiology at Ben Taub on the Mentor Mode rotation. During the four-week rotation we are paired with a CA-1, CA-2, or CA-3 each day to become acquainted with not only the Ben Taub system but also the basics of OR anesthesia. The rotation aims to familiarize interns with basic anesthetic plans, OR set up, anesthetic monitors, intraoperative medications, managing IV lines, intraoperative documentation, and building strategies for optimizing the patient throughout the surgery. We also begin to practice our procedural skills like intubation, IV placement, and arterial line placement. There is no pressure to have these skills completely mastered by the end of the month! This is our time to learn, practice, and get our feet wet while getting to know our upper levels and future department.
The typical day actually starts the evening before, when we are assigned our teams and cases for the following day. Usually, the upper-level resident on the anesthesia team would reach out to me to discuss the plan, any special set up required and a general time to meet the next day. My days would normally start at 6:30 a.m. As the mentor mode intern, I tried to set up as much of the room as I could independently (MSMAIDS!!), made sure that the patient consent was done and that they had at least one working line. It's nice to take the initiative and start doing consents and lines independently after the first week. Your upper level will of course walk you through the first few! Ask all the questions you can think of, your upper is a wealth of information for everything from anesthesia practice all the way to what to expect from the next few years of residency.
Preop is the anesthesia team's time to shine. Spend a few minutes with your patient! Do a thorough physical exam and make sure to have your stethoscope on you at all times. Some patients are familiar with anesthesia, but some may have questions or fears, so it is important to gauge their comfort level and ensure that their questions have been answered! Once the surgical team and OR are ready, you and your team will transport the patient to the OR. Once in the room: induce, intubate, and monitor the patient throughout the surgery before emerging and extubating at the end of the case. You can participate as much as your comfort and your team allows. My teams tried to get me as involved as possible in all steps of the process (including charting- something no exposure to in med school). Once the case is done, the patient gets transported to the PACU where the upper level will sign out to the PACU nurse (something you can start to learn on mentor mode as well).
The best part about mentor mode is getting to know our future colleagues and learning from many different people. More than anything, the rotation allows us to develop a sense of comfort in the operating room. We begin understanding when to administer certain medications or when to make changes to the ventilator (or literally how to turn it on). It can be overwhelming at times to be learning an entirely new specialty, but the residents and attendings at BCM are wonderful and supportive that the learning curve starts to seem less steep. This rotation is a great break from the medicine of intern year and gets you excited for your anesthesiology career ahead!