Anesthesiology

Frequently asked Questions by MS1s and MS2s

Consider shadowing an Anesthesiologist, either during first or second year and/or during the Personalized Active Learning (PAL) block that takes place during the last 6 weeks of first year. Pay special attention to physiology and pharmacology coursework. Learn more about the specialty from the Medical Student section of the American Society of Anesthesiology website

Research is not required, but it may help show interest. If a student is interested in pursuing research it would be optimal to have one or two projects where the student played a major role rather than several projects with minimal involvement. When first thinking about research consider what questions interest you. Anesthesia research can include bench research, clinical research, drug trials, translational research, outcomes research (QA/QI), or even Operating Room Utilization projects. There is also a large body of research devoted to preoperative assessment and medical optimization within the umbrella of the “Surgical Home”. While research is not necessary to match into a given field, any project that a student can passionately discuss with a potential interviewer would still be helpful.

Your Career and Professional Advisor can help provide you with local Anesthesiology Specialty Advisor contacts who may need help with ongoing projects. These Mentors, as well as Dr. McEchron, can provide great resources. Work with your peers, recent graduates, local Residents and Fellows as well as Anesthesiology faculty and express your interest in getting involved.

A strong academic foundation is the most important priority. If a student feels they can adequately balance academics while participating in community service or extracurricular activities it may help to develop a well rounded application and positively contribute to the community.

The National Resident Matching Program tracks statistical scores for matched students in each specialty. Learn more about Anesthesiology match trends here

Frequently asked Questions by MS3s and MS4s

It is preferable to ask for a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) at the conclusion of your rotation, when the impression of your performance is fresh in the letter writer’s mind. You should have your CV updated and your personal statement available for reference. When asking for a Letter of Recommendation it is ideal to do it in person. It is appropriate to ask specifically if they would be comfortable writing you a “strong letter of recommendation”. Letters should be uploaded directly to ERAS directly by the letter writer by the beginning of September of your fourth year, so make sure to give your letter writers ample time to write their letters, and be sure to thank them for their effort.

You will need a minimum of 3, and at least 2 should be from Anesthesiologists.

Yes. In particular, letters from Surgeons as well as Critical Care Physicians can help to showcase the student’s performance in the operating room environment and effective contribution to the healthcare team.

No, a chair letter is not required. However, the most highly valued letters are going to be from academic leaders in Anesthesiology.

Away rotations are not required. Some of the benefits of doing an away rotation include networking in an area of the country where you would like to end up, as well as figuring out if a particular residency program is a good fit. It is also a great opportunity to get a letter of recommendation from an academic Anesthesia program. We recommend working closely with your Career Advisor and Specialty Advisor to help with this decision.

Program Information specific to Anesthesiology:

Anesthesiology requires four years of postgraduate training. Some programs are Categorical, PGY 1-4, with an integrated Internship year. Others require a separate PGY-1 year and are considered Advanced Match, as graduating fourth year medical students match into a separate internship program as well as their PGY 2-4 Anesthesia program at the same time. Occasionally, programs may offer a position to Interns currently in their internship looking to start Anesthesia Residency the upcoming year, designated an “R” position. The American Board of Anesthesiology accepts any clinical base year as a PGY-1. Many Anesthesiologists choose between a medicine and a surgical intern year. Transitional Year programs are another popular option for Internship as they offer a broad view of a variety of clinical exposures and rotations.

Consider attending the American Society of Anesthesiology Annual Meeting (traditionally held in October, alternating between East and West Coast meeting sites.) The conference offers specific academic content tailored to Medical Students, allowing a more in-depth look at the field of Anesthesiology. The Annual Meeting also features a Residency Fair, providing medical students with the opportunity to learn more about specific programs and participate in networking opportunities with Residency Program leadership and current residents. Learn more about the Annual Meeting here

Additional Resources

Learn more about American Society of Anesthesiology here
Check out the American Society of Anesthesiology Guide to a Career in Anesthesiology here
Review the Society for Education in Anesthesiology website here