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Hey I am not a future anesthesia resident. So take my words as grain of salt. 


If you are interested in anesthesia, and backing up with internal. I would suggest that you focus more on your anesthesia application, but 6 weeks of elective in anesthesia is more than enough.

Also, doing internal electives like cardiology, resp, ICU are pretty pertinent for anesthesia, depends on how you sell it.


For internal, 10 weeks of electives are more than enough. Plus, you should be able to get 1-2 LORs from your core CTU rotation. If you check the CaRMS 2017 stats, 97% of CMGs get internal..So it is relatively less competitive than anesthesia (70-75%??) 


I really loved my anesthesia core rotation. I found that the anesthetists are generally very laid back, love to teach, and have a great sense of humour. I think that if you are motivated, good with your hands, great intubation skills, and ask pertinent questions; you should get a decent elective evaluation, and perhaps ask the preceptor who does your final eval for a LOR? 


I believe that shadowing is a good idea. When I was in gen surg and obs gyn, I would sometimes arrive early in the OR, the anesthesia staff would explain the intubation steps, and the resp physiology. Also, don't be afraid to ask them if they would let you intubate even when you are shadowing.


Anesthesia staff are one of the nicest docs that I have ever worked with in clerkship. Some of my anesthesia staff even suggested that I explore the field more, and offered me a LOR and an elective opportunity. I once seriously considered doing electives in anesthesia...but I realized that I actually enjoyed working with the anesthesia team, right after brutal gen surg and obs gyn lol...not the job itself aha


That's all I could say for someone who is not in anesthesia :P

I am in the middle of my core anesthesia rotation at my school, and I'm really enjoying it so far.  I had never considered anesthesia before this, and assumed I would find it boring.  I'm freaking out because my main block of electives starts in a week (my clerkship stream is a bit atypical) and all of my electives are set up in internal medicine.  I'm still not sure if I like anesthesia more than internal, but I do know anesthesia is something I want to explore more.  If anyone has time to answer my questions, I'd really appreciate it!


1)  If I am somehow able to manage it, I may be able to get six weeks of anesthesia electives (4 weeks before carms applications are due, 2 weeks before interviews).  Is this enough?  


2) I am doing a longitudinal placement in my home community, and was going to see if I could arrange some anesthesia shadowing on the side when I have time available (on weekends, evenings).  Is this worthwhile?  Is this something I would be able to get a letter from even if its not a formal placement?


3) How exactly do you impress on an anesthesia placement, especially when you are working with someone different every day?  I find I'm the type of person that people tend to warm up to, since I'm on the quieter side.  I feel like on my current home placement I'm not really impressive enough to ask for a letter from any one - is this a red flag?


4) What type of people should go into anesthesia?  What should that person go into?


5) Any other advice on how to explore the field more, how to be a competitive applicant, etc?


6) If I switch my last six electives to anesthesia electives, will this negatively impact my internal application?  I will still have 10 weeks of internal electives, but only 4 of those weeks are CTU (not including more 6 weeks of core CTU).


Thanks for reading, I'd appreciate any advice/guidance :)!!

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I have no specific advice, but can offer some anecdotes. I've definitely heard stories from people who discovered anesthesia late in the game and successfully matched to it, so it's not uncommon. Apparently, latecomers are even somewhat expected in anesthesia, since there isn't a lot of exposure to it during core clerkship at most schools. The PD at our school said that the personal letter is the best way to sell yourself in that case, i.e. make sure you do a good job of explaining why all of your electives were in a different field and how you came to discover that anesthesia was for you. Obviously electives will help, but just wanted to say that all is not lost if you decide on it later on.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Epona - bit late, but I found myself in a very similar situation last year. 

1. I think 6 of 16 weeks in anesthesia electives is lots. When you write your personal letter/ go to interviews just be honest and explain your thought process - your anesthesia core was in the spring, and subsequently your elective choices match this interest. 

2. Definitely worthwhile - the more exposure the better. I think it will be up to you how you choose to use your letters - I have no idea how certain types of experiences are perceived by programs. I don't think that just because it's a not a formal placement it should be discounted though, especially if you have two other letters from formal placements. Personally I chose the letters that I thought would be the strongest, which happened to include a letter from a preceptor I worked with in a non-clinical role

Edited by Cupboardsauce
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