Monday, August 31, 2009

Why are we running away from Intensive Care?

Attitudes of anesthesiology residents toward critical care medicine training.

Durbin CG Jr, McLafferty CL Jr
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908.
Anesth Analg. 1993 Sep;77(3):418-26.
PMID: 8368540 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The number of anesthesiology residents pursuing critical care medicine (CCM) fellowship training has been decreasing in recent years. A significant number of training positions remain unfilled each year. Possible causes of this decline were evaluated by surveying residents regarding their attitudes toward practice and training in CCM. All 38 anesthesiology programs having accredited CCM fellowships were surveyed. Four of these and one program without CCM fellowships were used to develop the survey instrument. Four programs without CCM fellowships and 34 programs with CCM fellowships make up the survey group. Returned were 640 surveys from 37 (97%) programs accounting for over 30% of the possible residents. Resident interest in pursuing CCM training decreased as year of residency increased (P < 0.0001). Residents in programs with little patient care responsibility during intensive care unit (ICU) rotations expressed less interest in CCM training (P < 0.012). The administrative role of the anesthesiology department in the ICU also influenced resident interest (P < 0.014). Written responses to open-ended questions suggested resident concerns with the following: stress of chronic care, financial consequences of additional year of training, ICU call frequency and load, ICU role ambiguity, and shared decision-making in the ICU.

A recurring question was, "Are there jobs (outside of academics) for anesthesiologist intensivists?" Most residents knew a CCM anesthesiologist they admired and knew that there were unfilled fellowship positions available. Defining the job market, improving curriculum and teaching, supporting deferment of student loans, and introducing residents and medical students to the ICU earlier may increase the interest in CCM practice among anesthesiology residents.

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