Department of Anesthesiology

A Day in the Life: Ben Taub Obstetric Anesthesia


Item Term
Paul Bui, M.D., CA-3

Item Definition

As a resident, you will rotate through Ben Taub's Obstetric Anesthesiology department several times before graduation. It serves as a wonderfully unique experience to care for laboring patients - who are often awake! During this rotation you will become familiar with the physiology and management of our parturient patients. You will also develop and hone your skills in placing and managing epidural catheters, as well as performing spinal blockades. When returning to this rotation as a senior, you carry more responsibility and take on an educational role as well.

I will typically arrive at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and change into my scrubs for the day. I arrived at the unit around 6:45 a.m. Afterwards, I check on the underclassmen and help stock both the delivery rooms as well as operating rooms. Morning huddle takes place at 7 a.m. where the night team will provide patient hand-off to the oncoming day team. Afterwards, a brief interdisciplinary meeting with the obstetrics team takes place before everyone gets to work.

A few residents will head toward the OB-ORs to begin elective cases. These cases typically consist of tubal ligations and planned cesarean sections. As the CA-3 on service, it is my job to both help manage patients on the labor deck as well as facilitate the elective cases. This usually means bouncing between patient rooms, the operating suites, and OB intake. I will spend most of my time coordinating patient care with available residents and then helping them with procedures.

Seniors on this rotation adopt a pseudo-attending role. I'm expected to help troubleshoot epidural catheters and will personally place epidurals in technically challenging patients. I also try my best to be present during the beginning and end for each of the elective cases. Because most of my time will be spent managing other residents, it provides me ample opportunity to teach and review applicable topics throughout the day. Attendings are consistently available and oversee all aspects of patient care, so I can comfortably perform my duties knowing they are there to guide and support me.

During this time, I will be holding a phone for the obstetrics team to alert me of any concerning patients or emergencies. As you can imagine, there is a lot of variability in how busy the service can be. However, there is consistently enough down time for me to check on follow-up patients from the previous day and to have several breaks. I will typically regret not bringing my lunch around noon and head down to the cafeteria. After wishing I brought my own lunch, I will continue to manage the labor deck. At 3 p.m., I sit down and review all the cases and patients that I have cared for throughout the day shift. I make special note of any complex patients, as well as epidurals that were placed and the details of their placement. At 3:30 p.m. the night shift arrives and I complete the cycle by giving them a detailed hand-off.

I am typically home before 4 p.m. and am free to enjoy the rest of my day as I please. I most commonly contemplate packing lunch for the next day before failing to follow through.