Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

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Q&A with Stanford Anesthesia's Residency Director

June 2013

Top 10 Reflections After Going Through Interview Season and the Match from a 2013 applicant

Dr. Meghana Yajnik just this month graduated medical school here at Stanford and will be staying on to do the anesthesia residency at Stanford.

She was kind enough to put down in writing some of her thoughts on the interview season and match that I hope will be helpful to applicants gearing up for the 2014 NRMP. Below she lists her top 10 reflections on the whole residency application process.

Residency application season can be a tough and nerve wrecking time. Here are some things I learned along the way that I think would be helpful to those who are just about to start the application process.

1) Apply early
After all, this is a rolling process. The earlier you get your application in, the earlier programs are likely to read it and the earlier you’ll get your choice of interview dates for many of the programs. Interview dates do fill up, and if you delay your application you may only get choices for days you cannot make. The biggest hurdle to this is your personal statement and your letters of recommendation. The earlier the better!

2) Know your CV/Application
While you are filling out your ERAS application, make sure you know your own background backwards and forwards. The worst situation is to be asked in an interview about some research project from a summer in undergrad that you can barely remember. Don’t let them catch you unprepared.

3) Take Step 2 Early
Some schools require you to have Step 2 scores, some don’t. I would advise taking Step 2 CS as early as possible to get it out of the way (after all, there is a 97% pass rate so this shouldn’t be a problem). It’s a good idea to get Step 2 CK out of the way before you start interviews. This just makes it easier to focus on interviews, plus you won’t have to worry about studying while you’re flying all over the country. You can always take the test early and send out the score to programs at your discretion. There is a place within the ERAS application that lets you select if you want your scores automatically forwarded to programs or not. Some applicants who feel that their Step 1 score is not strong might choose to take Step 2 early and use that score to improve their application.

4) Practice Interviewing
Some interviews are conversational and some are interrogations. Luckily in anesthesiology, most are conversational. Interviews always go smoother if you take the time to practice some of your answers in advance. Stock questions like “why anesthesia?” or “tell me about yourself” are good examples of questions you will definitely be asked. It’s the uncomfortable ones that you really want to practice – “tell me a joke” or “teach me something non-medical in 5 minutes” can throw you off if you’re not used to thinking on your feet. Mostly practice being put on the spot and keeping your cool.

5) Do Your Homework
Read up on each program before your interview. It will give you specific talking points during your interview and impress the program that you’ve researched them. Some programs might also ask specific questions about their curriculum assuming that you already know all about them.

6) Get Contact Information
On your interview day, take the contact information (i.e. business card) of everyone you talk to. You never know when you might need to talk to that person again. Plus, it’s a great way to build up your professional network. This includes co-interviewees – they’ll be your colleagues some day!

7) Say Thank You
Send a thank you email right after your interview to all your interviewers. If you wait to write those emails, you won’t remember your interviewers well and they might not remember you. It’s also nice to put something specific in your thank you note so it reminds them of your conversation. You may or may not get a response. But I wouldn't read in to that too much either way.

8) Write down your reflections
After each interview day, write down how you felt. Reflect on what you liked and what you didn’t like. This might seem silly, but by the end of interview season they all start to blend together. It’s nice to have something to look back to when you’re making your rank list.

9) Remember to Smile
After the first few times, interviews can start to get tedious. Try to stay refreshed and excited for each one of your interviews. Each program only gets a tiny snapshot of what you are really like, and you want to make sure you put the best foot forward. Even though you might be coming straight off of a red-eye flight, stay enthusiastic and remember to smile.

10) Go With Your Gut
When the time comes to finally make your rank list, go with your gut. It might seem important to create an algorithm or exhaustive excel spreadsheet to balance all of the variables of different programs, but in the end none of those small details matter. Try to rank based on how well you think you fit into a program. In my experience this is based on an overall feeling about a program, not on how good the dental benefits were or what the cafeteria looked like. This is where reading over your reflections on the interview day can really come in handy (see #8).

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun! Be yourself, keep your cool, and have a good time. Good luck!

Thank you Meghana for writing this nice piece!

Stanford Anesthesia Abstracts at the 2013 Western Anesthesia Resident Conference

Every year the West Coast residency programs have a meeting where housestaff can present their research projects, and other scholarship activities.
This year the University of New Mexico’s Department of Anesthesiology hosted a very nice Western Anesthesia Resident Conference (WARC).

The Stanford Anesthesia Abstracts are listed below:


Intraoperative Diagnosis of Tracheobronchomalacia Leading to Difficulty in Ventilation
Nicholas Anast, MD. Rosario Garcia, MD. Hendrikus Lemmens

Hemoptysis from a 2 Month Tracheostomy (What should your anesthesia plan be?)
Kingsuk Ganguly, MD, John Brock-Utne

Acute tracheal stenosis with respiratory distress. What to do when endotracheal intubation fails?
Eric Mehlberg MD, Jorge Caballero MD, Kevin Malott

Proposal for routine use of airway exchange catheter during tracheostomy
Megan Olejniczak, Geoffrey Lighthall

A Surprising Solution to an Airway Emergency in the Endoscopy Suite
Rachel R. Wang, John G. Brock-Utne


Does Hyperoxia During Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest Affect Patient Outcomes?:
A Retrospective Analysis
Esther Garazi, Robert Lobato


Severe Thrombocytopenia After Massive Intraoperative Tranfusion: A Case of Posttranfusion Purpura Management
Justin Pollock, Carlos Brun


Preadmission opioid use is associated with increased hospital length of stay in Total Knee Arthroplasy Patients.
Bassam Kadry; Sean Mackey, Natacha Telusca; Ken Lau; Hassan Alosh; Alex Macario


Neonate for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Repair
Shelly Pecorella

Characteristics of data registry cohort studies in published in the anesthesia literature
Kevin P. Blaine, Bassam Kadry, Sesh Mudumbai

Endotracheal tube cuffs: does education help achieve optimal pressures?
Marianne Chen, Richard Jaffe

Role of Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells in the Immune Response to Surgical Trauma.
Brice Gaudilliere, Gabi Fragiadakis, Martha Tingle, Julian Silva, Christine Yeh, Garry Nolan, Martin Angst

Boris D. Heifets, Karl Deisseroth, Robert Malenka., M. Bruce MacIver

Reducing Anesthetic Pollution: A Catalytic Converter for the Anesthesia
Ashley Micks, Catherine S. Reid, John Brock-Utne, Brian Cantwell

A Dramatic SEDLine Reading Increase During a Change in Position. Should You Be Concerned?
Amit R. Saxena, Vivianne L. Tawfik, John G. Brock-Utne


Raising Anesthesia Provider Awareness of Intraoperative Ocular Ionizing Radiation Exposure
Samuel T.C. Chen, John G. Brock-Utne, Harry J. Lemmens

Assessment of resident physician wellness: Survey tool development, data analysis, and lessons for future wellness curricula
Morgan Dooley

Prior to a Femoral Peripheral Nerve Block Placement, why not check for Femoral Vein Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Natalya Hasan, John Brock-Utne, Lindsey Vokach-Brodsky

Installation of an anesthesia information management system increases the number of
arterial line supply charges per day by 35%
Bassam Kadry,Ken Lau, Natacha Telusca Cliff Schmiesing, Alex Macario

Monitored Anesthesia Care for Vitreoretinal Surgeries: Which Technique is Safest?
Jody C. Leng, Ruwan A. Silva, John Brock-Utne, David Drover, Theodore Leng

A novel anesthesia needs assessment tool to actuate academic partnerships
Vanessa Moll, Peter Schmidt, Ana Crawford

Morbidly Obese Patients Undergoing Primary Hip Arthroplasty Require Forty-
Four More Minutes of Operating Room Time
Bassam Kadry, Christopher D. Press, Hassan Alosh, Issac M. Opper; Joe
Orsini; Igor A. Popov; Alex Macario, Jay B. Brodsky

A Quality Improvement Project Reconfiguring the Anesthesia Workspace: Lessons Learned
Bassam Kadry, Alex Macario, Alex Quick, Richard A. Jaffe, John G. Brock-Utne

How Safe is Your Lead Apron?
James P. Tan, John G. Brock-Utne

Wow! a lot of good projects here,

Event Planning for Next Year Has Started

Now that we are almost done with the academic year, we are preparing for next year and special events for the residents. The preliminary schedule looks like:

CA1 Resident Team Building Excursion-Whitewater Rafting (July 13-14, 2013). The Chief Residents organize this every summer.

Welcome BBQ for new residents (July 20th, 2013) at the Cantor Art Museum. Beautiful location!

Wellness Retreat (Aug. 23-25, 2013) at the Chaminade Resort in Santa Cruz led by Drs. Ratner and Cornaby.

Airway Workshop (Nov. 16-17, 2013) run by Dr. Nekhendzy.

Mock Oral Exams: Oct. 30th, Nov. 4th, Nov. 19th

Resident Tahoe Retreat: Jan. 25-26, 2014

Thank you,

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