Lauren Smajdor, MD, earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida before attending UF’s College of Medicine.
Now a fourth-year resident, Dr. Smajdor received the CA2 Division of Acute Pain Award at our 2020 graduation ceremony. She also received third place in the literature review category at the 45th annual Gulf Atlantic Anesthesia Residents’ Research Conference (GAARRC) in 2019.
We asked Dr. Smajdor a few questions about her experience in our anesthesiology residency program so far and her advice for others.
Q: Why did you choose UF’s residency program and choose to stay at UF?
A: As a medical student at UF, I was drawn to the many diverse learning opportunities that UF’s Department of Anesthesiology offers from a wide array of specialists. I knew attending residency at UF would build upon the strong foundation provided by the College of Medicine. As a resident, I have access to attending physicians who are experts in their field. I have found that they are more than happy to answer my questions ranging from how to care for complex extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients to how to elegantly place nerve catheters for common outpatient orthopedic procedures. Although we are surrounded by expertise, the residents are given autonomy to hone our own skills. The mentors I met throughout my residency influenced my decision to pursue the Acute and Perioperative Pain Medicine Fellowship at UF.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in applying for UF’s residency program?
A: Identify your career priorities and find the program that suits your needs best. I was looking for an environment that would challenge me to become a strong anesthesiologist and prepare me to tackle even the most intimidating of clinical situations; UF has definitely done this. If you have any questions about our program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, as we are happy to help and have been in your shoes!
Q: What is one highlight of your time in the residency program so far?
A: We have a rotation known as “Mole,” which is a stretch of a 2-week night shift where five residents are in charge of all operating rooms in three hospital towers. It’s a challenging rotation, but I love the camaraderie among the group and the acuity of cases.
Q: What challenges or opportunities has COVID-19 presented for you as a resident?
A: Our entire department faced major challenges with the pandemic, including limited personal protective equipment (PPE), evaluating intubation risks, and changing operating room environments to be compliant with COVID-19 guidelines. Despite the stress and uncertainty of this time, I witnessed our department come together and develop a novel form of PPE from recycled sterile-field packaging, provide compassionate care for our patients and each other, and safely resume a normal schedule of operation.
Q: What are some of your future goals?
A: I plan to complete a fellowship at UF in Acute and Perioperative Pain Medicine. Ultimately, my plan is to stay in Florida and hopefully assume a leadership role at my practice through improving the quality of care by refining block techniques and innovating equipment.