What it’s like to be a female anesthesiologist…

To promote the series #asawoman started by @nataliecrawfordmd (from Instagram)
.
.
Throughout medical school, residency, fellowship, even now in private practice… patients have often judged a book by its cover. They’ve thought I was their nurse, volunteer, high school student or college student shadowing, almost everything but the person who will lead their anesthetic care. While this can seem deflating given all the extra work and studies one puts in to become a physician, I’ve changed my mindset re: my patients’ initial thoughts on me.
.
.
First of all, thank goodness they think I’m super young! I have my mom’s genes and beautiful skin to thank!! At this rate, I hope I start to look 30 when I hit 50. When patients ask my age, I happily oblige them with a bold 39. Then I see a look of relief over their faces. I, of course, ask them how old they think I am….and I get the range of: just graduated college to mid-20s. Awesome!! I use it as a bonding moment and icebreaker with my patients. Sometimes with the right patient, I joke with them that it’s my first day… it usually entertains a good laugh. Then, I go into an overly technical schpeel on risks/benefits of anesthesia, expectations, PACU recovery. This typically solidifies to the patient that it’s not my first day on the job. Additionally, many patients tell me in the PACU that they feel better than their prior experience or better than their expectation and are quite grateful for my care.
.
.
There are a lot of men in my anesthesia group. Sometimes, after I introduce myself to the patient, they’re shocked that a woman anesthesiologist would be delivering their care. In this day and age, I’m shocked that a lot of patients still assume that a male physician will oversee their care. When caring for female patients with this mentality, I purposefully address a gentle and vigilant anesthetic plan. With my male patients with this mentality, often times they’re happy to talk about the “happy juice” cocktail they’ll get and some much deserved relaxation knowing that I will carry a watchful eye over their surgery and anesthetic.
.
.
Lastly, since becoming pregnant with my first and currently pregnant with my second… I feel I have a better understanding of the worried/concerned parents who are at the bedside to be with their child about to enter surgery.  Oftentimes, the parents think I’m young and want to know where I trained and when I graduated.  I offer them this info, and continue speaking to the patient (their child) about their concerns or questions.  I make sure the parents know everything that will go on re: anesthetic plan, how the patient will feel in recovery and risks/benefits of anesthesia options.  I TAKE MY TIME with the parents and the patient.  While my age and gender often work against me (even though it shouldn’t!), I make sure the controllable worries by the parents are addressed.  I speak to the parents after the surgery.  They go into the recovery room and see their child (older than 13 at our hospital) comfortable and recovering.  While I can’t change my appearance (nor would I want to…), I can change perceptions of women physicians.  We are every bit as capable of everything our male colleagues can do.  In addition, we tackle pregnancy, motherhood, businesses, and everything in between.  #asawoman As A Woman, I feel more empowered now than ever before.

Women in Anesthesiology

American Medical Women’s Association

American College of Physicians: Women in Medicine

Bias, Bravery, and Burnout: The Journey of Women in Medicine

Advertisements

What is the “Best” Anesthetic for Oocyte Retrieval

John Gerancher's Regional Anesthesiology

cohranePain Relief for Women Undergoing Oocyte Retrieval for Assisted Reproduction (review)
Published: January 2013
In: The Cochrane Collaboration
From: EPPI-Centre, University of London
Authors: Kwan I, Bhattacharya S, Knox F, McNeil A.
Review:
In investigating if spinal anesthesia might be the best anesthetic and analgesic approach for oocyte retrieval, I found a recent and complete review on anesthesia and oocyte retrieval. The main result of this review was that use of more than one pain relief modality improved patient comfort. My informal on-line survey of patient information provided for patients by fertility clinics suggests propofol infusion as procedural sedation/general anesthesia is likely the most common method employed for oocyte retrieval in the US.
Original Abstract:
BACKGROUND:
Various methods of conscious sedation and analgesia have been used for pain relief during oocyte recovery in in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedures. The choice of agent has also…

View original post 584 more words