Department of Anesthesiology

A Day in the Life: Intern Year Mentor Mode


Item Term
Jaime Garcia, M.D., CA-1

Item Definition

Mentor mode is the first time that interns get to be in the OR as anesthesiology residents, and this is probably the reason it is everyone’s favorite rotation. The days start at 6:30 a.m., and the first thing I did was go to my preassigned room to start setting it up. Since I had already talked to the anesthesia resident and attending the day before, I already knew what other things to prepare on top of the basic set up. I used the trusty MSMAIDS mnemonic and worked to become faster at setting up the room. My daily goal was to set up at least three or four letters from the mnemonic before the mentoring resident came in the room. Once the room was set up around 6:50 a.m., the resident and I would make our way to the pre op holding area to meet our patient. After introducing ourselves to the patient, we took a history and physical to verify our chart review and ask important safety questions. We then took the patient’s consent for anesthesia after informing them of the risks and benefits of the planned anesthetic. If the patient did not have an IV, one was started in pre op to have ready for induction. Once the surgical team and OR team were ready, we’d transport our patient to the OR. Once in the room, we would induce, intubate, and monitor the patient throughout the surgery before emerging and extubating at the end of the case. The patient would then be transported to PACU for recovery.

While the rotation is straightforward and has clear expectations, one thing that immediately struck me was how different anesthesiology is compared to the other rotations we complete our intern year. Everything we do in anesthesiology is based on having some immediate or short-term effect and every anesthetic event is dynamic, changing second to second. Mentor mode allows interns to get a sense of what is important in the OR, how to manage the airway, how to medically manage a patient’s entire physiology while under the influence of anesthesia, and how to best treat pain based on the patient and the type of procedure they undergo. In addition, we learn how to obtain vascular access using blind and ultrasound guided techniques. Surprisingly, the vascular access techniques that I learned during mentor mode were often my most useful contributions for the rotations that followed.

Another surprising aspect of mentor mode was that I wasn’t only allowed to touch the ventilator, I was actively encouraged to change settings under supervision to become comfortable with it. And while the scope of anesthesia could not possibly be captured in four weeks, the things I learned during this month were crucial to make me feel comfortable once it was my time to be alone in the OR at the start of CA1 year.