The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

Category: Member Essays

Re-Thinking the Anesthesia Rotation
by Alessandro De Camilli, MD

To augment recruitment to our specialty, we need to start at the grassroots. The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on a lack of critical care training among practicing anesthesiologists, as well as lack of appreciation for the specialty in the global medical community. A large contributing factor is the myopic perspective of our specialty offered on the standard boilerplate anesthesiology rotation. Medical student exposure to anesthesiology is almost exclusively dedicated to intubation and the role of the intraoperative provider: a rote sequence of injections and dials, staying quiet so as not to wake the beast across the drapes. We love to show off our cheap thrills: the magic of propofol, the placement of arterial lines, and we stick to cheeky truisms: “physiology and pharmacology in action,” “our patients are 100% compliant!”, “we protect patients from the surgeon!” But in doing so, we are selling ourselves short. It’s time to draw back the curtain and show them how much the role of a modern-day anesthesiologist and intensivist can transcend this role.

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How Do We “Practice” Medicine?
by Louanne M. Carabini, MD, MA, FASA

According to Oxford Languages, to “practice” means to pursue a professional activity or exercise a skill regularly and routinely to improve proficiency. I am an anesthesiologist who “practices” critical care medicine and the residency program director for more than seventy-six residents in a large training program. I am also a mother, a wife, sister, and daughter; and I have to practice being human every day. We are all human, and we deserve more competence and proficiency as we interact together. Often, my biggest challenge that demands practice for proficiency is the transition from work to life.

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Finding Purpose in Our Work
by Shahla Siddiqui, MBBS, MSc (Medical ethics), FCCM

To at least some degree, we all entered medicine for altruistic reasons: helping others, finding meaning in providing comfort and care, and saving lives. We in critical care are especially driven to offer management of life-threatening disease states as well as solace and comfort to critically ill patients. This aspect has been highlighted in striking detail during the pandemic where, despite the grueling physical demands of working in ICUs during this time, the discomfort of PPE, and the trauma of watching so many people die and so many families suffer, we still find joy and reward in the lives we save and the families whose lives we touch by our compassion.

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