A ‘golden age’ for anesthesiology: UF medical student discusses new role with ASA

Nick Davies

Nick Davies, a first-year UF medical student, has been elected president elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Medical Student Component. In this national leadership position, he will have the opportunity to represent medical students across the country who are seeking to go into anesthesiology.

The Medical Student Component seeks to increase student involvement at the state and national levels and increase student exposure to anesthesiology at medical schools across the nation.

Eight officers are elected yearly to the Governing Council. Nick was elected president elect, a two-year term, at the 2021 ASA Annual Meeting, which was held this October in San Diego.

We caught up with Nick to get to know him and his plans as he takes on this exciting position.

Q: What are you most excited to work on in this new leadership role with ASA?

A: My biggest strength is in the realm of professional advocacy and that is what I am looking to bring to my role as the ASA Medical Student Component president. With all the practice, reimbursement, and regulatory issues that anesthesiology faces, medical students and incoming residents cannot simply be strong clinically; they must also be strong leaders and advocates for their profession. They must be people who are able to have a persuasive conversation with an elected official or regulator. After training, they must be empowered to take on leadership positions in the hospital or state or national government, and that training should start early.

I would like to provide ASA’s medical student members with extensive resources to learn how to be model professional citizens and strong advocates for our patients and our specialty. 

Q: You have an interesting background having spent 10 years as a CAA. What made you decide to pursue medical school?

A: I had the desire to go to medical school for some time but a few things helped push me to go through with it. First, serving as president of the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants in 2018 and on the board of the ASA PAC from 2018 to 2020 helped me to experience firsthand the need for leadership within anesthesiology to get us through the various challenges that the specialty faces. I was also surrounded by many very positive and supportive physician mentors who encouraged me and knew I would be successful. Medical school would also open the door to being productively active in anesthesiology research, which had also been a long-term goal of mine but was mostly out of reach both educationally and practically as an AA. 

Q: Why did you choose UF for medical school?

A: I knew that UF was the right place for me from the beginning. Through my involvement with ASA, I developed a good relationship with a few UF anesthesiology faculty. I was also extremely excited that UF chose an anesthesiologist, Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., as its new dean of the College of Medicine. Combined with a renowned anesthesiology residency program and all the research I wanted to be involved with, such as patient blood management and artificial intelligence, it seemed that UF was leading a “golden age” for this specialty and I really wanted to be a part of it.

Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in anesthesiology?

A: My biggest advice to someone interested in anesthesiology is to cultivate a big-picture mindset. Anesthesiology is unique in how it interacts with nearly every specialty in medicine, and it is also particularly affected by many macro-level issues in U.S. healthcare. Through their role in healthcare delivery, anesthesiologists are very much attuned to what makes an institution run efficiently or not because they see how everything interoperates. This empowers anesthesiologists to be able to take on leadership roles at a hospital or beyond. These sorts of intangible qualities such as leadership, advocacy, and professionalism are critical to having a successful career that can have a broadly positive impact far beyond any individual patient encounter or local facility.

Q: What is your career goal?

A: I envision myself in an academic career in the future because of the ability to satisfy the interests I have beyond clinical work, such as education, research, administration, and professional advocacy. As I progress through training, I look forward to continuing to participate in subsequently more effective ways to help our patients, medical students, residents, and anesthesiologists however I can. I am deeply passionate about anesthesiology as a profession and a specialty and it is very gratifying to stand up and share that passion with others, especially those who do not really appreciate what we do or the value we provide to the healthcare system.

Learn more about our department’s opportunities for medical students.