I’ve been doing anesthesia for a long time. How long?
- Some of my early classmates were switchboard operators.
- My first day of anesthesia residency was spent getting an earpiece made so that I could use the only reliable monitor of the time, the precordial stethoscope.
- Countless cases of inflating a manual blood pressure cuff every few minutes to measure blood pressure while keeping my finger on a pulse. (And who can forget the PLOSS valve)
- It was the era of the “first resident in” gets the only available automatic blood pressure machine.
- When eventually available, capnography was the size of a refrigerator, and the pulse oximeter was the size of a microwave
- or curare, the stuff of poision tipped arrows, was muscle relaxant of choice.
Ahh, the good old days.
More than Forty years later anesthesia has taken me a long way in facilities of all sizes splitting my time almost equally in the Anesthesia Care Team model and anesthesiologists-only practices. During this time I have been in leadership positions of multiple anesthesia services, started several anesthesia groups in hospitals, surgery centers, and offices, directed a CRNA school and CRNA clinical training sites, written on anesthesia operations management, produced several blogs on anesthesia-related issues, and been involved with several anesthesia management companies.
There is one consistent theme in the above, relentless change driven, not only by medical advances and technology but a better understanding of people and how they work in organizations.
My bet is that understanding people will make the most important difference in future.