Our residents come from diverse backgrounds. Most come to us directly from medical school; however, some have pursued graduate study earning additional degrees (e.g., PhD, MBA, MPH, JD), others have conducted several years of research while others have had successful non-medical careers, and some are board certified in other medical specialties. Their non-academic interests also are very diverse ranging from being a solo violinist with a philharmonic orchestra to instructing ballroom dancers, karate and rock-climbing to being competitive athletes and gourmet chefs. However, they all come to our program with a common goal: the desire to learn to provide outstanding care to their patients in an educational environment that fosters intellectual curiosity.
Our goal is to develop in our residents the necessary knowledge, judgment and clinical skills to prepare them to be consultant anesthesiologists. Our residents achieve clinical and academic competence over four years of training by managing patients with increasingly complicated medical conditions for more and more complex surgical procedures, and by being exposed to incrementally more advanced educational materials. Our graduates are confident managing critically ill patients, from neonates to the extremely aged, undergoing all types of surgical procedures, during the pre-, intra-, and post-operative periods. Graduating residents make the transition easily from residency into either community or academic practice, and the vast majority achieves Board Certification on their first attempt.
As a resident in our program, clinical training takes place within our clinical divisions, encompassing all major subspecialties in our field, and covering a vast and diverse caseload. Residents rotating through each major clinical division stay exclusively within that area while on rotation and are taught by an attending staff dedicated to that subspecialty. This ensures an intense and focused training experience with experts who have the most up-to-date knowledge and advanced skills pertinent to the subspecialty. Each division provides its rotating residents with a set of rotation objectives tailored to their year of training, subspecialty specific reading materials, instructions on pertinent techniques, and a series of questions for self-appraisal of the materials.
By the final year of training, the residents will have completed several rotations in each subspecialty area and are given the opportunity to choose electives that meet their personal goals. As a Senior Resident, they are given the opportunity to function in a leadership role as a "Team Captain" heading the overnight and weekend call team. The Team Captain arranges for and plans anesthetic management for emergency surgeries, supervises junior residents through these procedures, directs management of all Post-Anesthesia Care Unit patients, and oversees airway management in emergency nonsurgical situations for patients in the hospital and in the Emergency Room. An in-house on-call attending is always available to consult and assist with these endeavors.
The didactic training comes from daily teaching by faculty in the O.R., on the pain service, and critical care units, participating in several departmental and subdivisional rounds & conferences and from diligent study. Faculty and residents attend our departmental weekly Case Conference, Morbidity/Mortality and Quality Assurance Conference. Other regularly scheduled resident educational sessions include a Core Curriculum Lecture Series targeted to the residents’ level of training, Chiefs Rounds, a Basic Principles Course, and subspecialty seminars for residents on subspecialty rotations. Research seminars and special educational events take place throughout the year in the department. There are also many outstanding lectures throughout the Medical Center, where attendance is encouraged. We provide basic electronic textbooks at the beginning of the residency, as well as ongoing subscriptions to major journals and membership in important professional organizations. The departmental library stays up to date with books, journals and computerized materials and is accessible 24/7/365. CA1 residents are encouraged to attend the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting (NYSSA PGA). CA-2 and CA-3 residents receive time and are reimbursed to attend a professional meeting outside the institution.
While we provide the necessary tools and opportunities to achieve the residency program goals, we expect each resident to assume responsibility for his or her own education. The personal commitment to improvement of skills, study, and acquisition of knowledge is the obligation of the individual trainee. We promote the values of independent thinking, continuous self-appraisal and high personal expectations throughout the training process; the reward for these efforts is seeing the satisfaction and success our graduates enjoy in their postgraduate professional lives.
Leila Mei Pang, MD
Ngai - Jubilee Professor of Anesthesiology at CUMC and Vice-Chair for Resident Education, Director, Anesthesiology Residency Program