Editors note: The following piece was submitted by Daniel Orlovich, Pharm D, a UC Irvine medical student who will begin his anesthesia residency later this year at Stanford. He is a first-time contributor to CSAOF.
Here is my confession – I am a millennial. Some might think I am itching to take another selfie, check Facebook, and demand a trophy for just showing up. Maybe I really wanted to write this entire piece as one long text message.
Do you want to know what I really want, though? It turns out that it’s what you want, an influential, active, and enduring CSA. One way we get there is by listening to the future members who are a source of fresh ideas. As someone starting internship this summer I respectfully offer mine below.
While anesthesiology is a small world, California is a large place. The CSA shines with over 4,114 members with years upon years of experience. Eureka! That is a gold mine of knowledge. That honor (and slogan, Eureka!; The Golden State) is unique to California. The main goal of my training is to increase my knowledge set; of course my residency program will provide answers to some of my questions. However, a key part of this is meeting people. That’s where the CSA comes in. It would be valuable to me to talk to people from different practice settings – private, community based, and outpatient surgery centers. I would like getting to know people who have worked in a major city like Los Angeles and in the rural parts of Central California. I’m not requesting anything too fancy or formal. Say, a local restaurant for an hour or two with hors d'oeuvre—just enough time to strike up a conversation, grab a business card, and put a face to the name. I know that practicing anesthesiologists are busy and have other commitments.
Once again it is not all about what I want, though. It’s a win-win for the CSA as well. The CSA would benefit from having members creating new, strong networking connections, actively sharing ideas, and remaining unified.
Do you remember your path towards anesthesiology? I do. I couldn’t have done it without the mentorship and guidance of Richard J. Kelly, MD, JD, MPH, FCLM. Dr. Kelly listened for hours (literally) as I practiced my presentation for the Western Anesthesia Research Conference. His philosophical questions helped me to better understand and articulate my journey towards anesthesiology. He sent me a heartfelt message on Match Day. Maybe you had someone like this during your residency or the first few years on your own. The networking events could present short, casual conversations that could easily lead to more intimate and sustained mentoring opportunities. The CSA is uniquely positioned to provide what our residency programs are not designed to do—a transition to life post-residency with a potential network of mentors.
Perhaps the CSA could have a list of anesthesiologists looking to serve as a mentor. The list could be broken down by specialty, say pediatrics or OB. Or even unique interests like international trips or managing practices with a business understanding. Touching base could be over email, a phone call, or coffee. Some more experienced anesthesiologists might find it enriching and fulfilling to share wisdom and advice to the next generation of anesthesiologists. This collective wisdom would serve as the soul of CSA’s future.
There are things I’ll learn in the OR which are vital to my career, such as reading an EEG, properly dosing narcotics (and returning unused portions!), and getting a sense on when to call for help. There are also things I’ll learn outside the OR, which are equally important to my livelihood. What organization wants its members to be buried in debt, underwater on a house, and paying a broker far too much in fees for stocks?
I understand that residency programs teach the basic fundamentals to these types of questions. And I also know that many companies care more about their own well-being than mine. The CSA could create resources for its members by having a list of business organizations suggested by some of the members available. I’ll be equipped to evaluate the information based on this perspective on topics like mortgages, job negotiations, debt management, asset allocation, and managing taxes. The ASA already put on a well-done resident track event at the 2015 ASA Annual Meeting in San Diego, which provided a series of lectures that introduced residents and fellows to fundamental concepts in practice management before entering practice.
Ways for me to serve YOU
Some think millennials are selfish. Well in this case, we’re not. You’ve listened to me. Now it’s my turn to listen to you. Simply, how can I help? Did you want me to send out a survey to my co-residents? Show up on the steps in Sacramento with a sign? Talk to medical students and get them interested in anesthesiology? Whatever you feel is best, please just reach out to me. No matter how small, a tweet or blog post, it leads to the greater mission of the CSA.
Here’s the point – maintaining, strengthening, and evolving the CSA is essential to my future. And yours, too.