Resident Academic Days Praised for Positive Impact

Residents viewing a screen with an x-ray

Protecting academic time for residents has been an important concern in the University of Florida Department of Anesthesiology. The numerous administrative tasks, duty logs and surveys, as well as training related to compliance, insurance billing, HIPAA and other areas require time that can be challenging to find while residents take care of their other responsibilities. To address this area of need, Resident Academic Days (RADs) were initiated by the Anesthesiology Education Office in an effort to increase learning and administrative time. Held every Thursday, these days are dedicated to enhancing residents’ learning experiences while also providing time for non-clinical activities and tasks.

How Resident Academic Days Are Structured

Each RAD is structured with concurrent small group activities led by faculty until lunch. “Typically, we have faculty for a good part of the morning,” said Assistant Director for Education Administration Tammy Bleeker, M.Ed., “an opening lecture, and two or three concurrent sessions of simulations, problem-based learning discussions (PBLDs), and mock oral practice or walkthroughs. Dr. Lampotang recently provided a low flow anesthesia presentation, and Dr. Robinson presented on transesophageal echocardiograms.” Faculty tailor each Thursday’s material to the class with which they are meeting, as second year residents benefit from different material than fourth year residents.

The afternoon sessions provide time for catching up on administrative tasks such as logging cases and hours, working on QI projects and surveys as well as time to meet with mentors and discuss projects. Additionally, the department has purchased TrueLearn exam board preparation materials which residents are able to use during this period. Light snacks and refreshments are provided.

Alisha Shah, M.D., CA-1 Resident

“The skills and confidence I have gained through the resident academic days so far have made a positive difference in how I practice anesthesia in the ORs.”

residents practicing with an ultrasound probe

“We are doing them in a thoughtful way,” said Anesthesiology Residency Program Director Timothy Martin, M.D. “The reality is that we have morphed over the last 40-50 years away from an apprenticeship model to more didactic education along with residents’ guided hands-on training. We need a day per month for every resident where they are not thinking about the patient they are treating, the OR they are setting up, or recovering from 16 hours on duty to have regular protected time to focus on their many tasks.”

Resident Feedback is Positive

Residents learning on a simulator

“It has honestly been amazing having these dedicated academic days that are targeted to each graduation class,” said second-year resident Alisha Shah, M.D. “We CA-1s have been focusing on OR emergency simulations, mock orals, In-Training Exam preparation and didactics, anesthesia billing, ultrasound techniques and more.”

The mock orals and PBLDs have been well received with residents noting that they teach intraoperative management and oral board practice and provide unique situations to discuss start to finish. Simulations have been a highlight, providing opportunities to work through multiple scenarios and learn from a debrief session with an attending. Residents also reported the grab bag questions during lunch and lectures regarding contracts, insurance billing and the financial side of anesthesia provided useful information that is not typically covered in their education. Discussions of life after residency have also been helpful.

The response to RADs from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. Fourth-year resident Shahrukh Bengali, M.D., noted the benefits of the RADs: “It has been a positive experience for residents. We get to utilize our training, and I really feel like I have been well prepared for the oral boards through the practice sessions with attendings. They give you that confidence.”

“The skills and confidence I have gained through the resident academic days so far have made a positive difference in how I practice anesthesia in the ORs,” said Shah. “I am excited to continue growing from these experiences.”

Benefits of Resident Academic Days

Residents learning on a simulator

Martin noted the multiple benefits of the RADs, stating “The residents have been very receptive and appreciative of the protected time away from patients for learning as well as the opportunities to interact with each other and faculty that the COVID-19 pandemic limited.” Bengali echoed this statement: “The biggest thing for me is the camaraderie between the classes. Once you get into anesthesia you are not generally in a team with your classmates, and we did not have opportunities to come together a lot. It has been an awesome opportunity to get a third of the class back together.”

 “It’s been amazing for the residents to have time with the faculty in a comfortable space,” said Bleeker “Sitting in the classroom is very different than dealing with the pressures of a critical care case in the OR.” Some of the faculty members who have supported RADs thus far include Lauren Berkow, Cole Dooley, Michael Fowler, Amanda Frantz, Nik Gravenstein, Isaac Luria, Samsun Lampotang, Tim Martin, Andrea Mendoza, Basma Mohamed, Yong G. Peng, Albert Robinson, Cam Smith, Terrie Vasilopolous, Jeff White, Peggy White and Yury Zasimovich. As the faculty’s in-person presentations have made a positive impact, the lectures will also be banked and made available as resources for future learning.

Field trips and in-services are also being added, including visits to the UF Health Heart & Vascular and Neuromedicine Hospitals as well as training on the Quantra Hemostasis Analyzer and glucose meters. The success of the program’s launch as well as the planned enhancements promise to continue supporting residents’ training and well-being.

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