Frequently Asked Questions About Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine Medical Education


What does your program look for in residency applicants?

What is the faculty to resident ratio?

What is a typical call schedule?

Where do most residents live and what is the cost of living like in Boston?

What is a typical work day like for a BIDMC anesthesia resident?   

What other resources are available for fellows and residents? 

What types of visas do you sponsor for foreign medical graduates?  

What does your program look for in residency applicants?

We look for applicants with sincere interest in the specialty of anesthesiology, who are consistently wanting to learn, with solid academic credentials. We do not have specific number cut-offs. All of the applications are reviewed personally by the Program Director and the Associate Program Director.  

What is the faculty to resident ratio? 

The faculty to resident ratio is approximately 1:1.   

What is a typical call schedule?

For most of the year, residents take overnight call in OB and on the West campus (OR cases) and late call on the East campus. On the average, overnight call frequency decreases with advancement in residency, so CA-1s will take about 4 to 5 calls per month, CA-2s take 3 to 4 calls, and CA-3s take 2 to 3 calls per month. The number of late calls also decreases with advancement in training. Overnight calls are 24 hour call for CA-1s; CA-2s and CA-3s do not come in for overnight call until noon for West call, and 2:00 p.m. for OB call on weekdays; residents go home on the post call day around 7:00 a.m.

LATE CALL: For late call, residents stay to finish cases in late-running rooms on the east campus. The call usually includes three residents: Late 1 (first to leave), Late 2 (second to leave), and Late 3 (last to leave). Late 3 generally does not stay past 9:00 p.m.

WEST CALL: On West campus call, there is one CA-1 and one senior resident (CA-2 or CA-3) on call with one attending. OR cases are done until all the cases are finished. The call team also covers patients in the PACU and airway emergencies in the hospital which require intubation. Typical cases on west call include trauma (e.g. orthopedic injuries), general surgery cases (appendectomy, exploratory laparotomy, cholecystectomy), vascular surgeries, and any other cases that are considered urgent (e.g. D&C for bleeding patient, spine surgery for patient with cord compression).

OB CALL: OB call consists of 2 residents (1 senior and 1 junior) and one attending. Residents cover placement of epidurals or combined spinal-epidurals for patients in labor and anesthesia for C-sections.

OTHER CALLS: Residents on their ICU and Pain rotations are not in the general call schedule and take call specific to the rotation. Children's Hospital also has a separate call schedule that is coordinated through the rotation.   

Where do most residents live and what is the cost of living like in Boston?

Many residents choose to live in the Fenway or Brookline neighborhoods, both of which are within walking distance of the hospital. The average price for a 1 bedroom apartment in these areas ranges from $1200 to $1800/ month, with studios from $900-$1200/month. Other popular neighborhoods include the Northeastern University/Symphony area, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. Some residents live in one of the many surrounding suburbs (Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Newton, etc.) and commute to work by car. Rental prices in the suburbs tend to be lower than in Boston proper. Parking is available at the hospital garage for a weekly fee. The hospital is easily accessible by public transportation (the MBTA or "T", nearest stop is Longwood). Monthly MBTA passes for unlimited travel within the Boston area can be purchased through the hospital at a discounted rate.

What is a typical work day like for a BIDMC anesthesia resident?

Typically residents are assigned to an OR for the day and do the cases scheduled for that room until either the cases are finished (if before 4:30 p.m.), or they are relieved for lecture (at 4:30 p.m.). If there is no lecture scheduled and residents are not on late call, they are usually relieved by one of the late call staff by around 5:00 p.m. The residents call the attendings that they will be working with to discuss the cases for the next day and the anesthetic plan. The goal is to set up for the first case, see the patient in the holding area (to preop and consent them), and start the IV in order to be ready to go to the OR by 7:30 a.m. Depending on the complexity of the first case, residents arrive at the hospital between 6:00 a.m. (for a very complicated case requiring extensive setup and invasive lines) and 6:45 a.m. (for a basic case). Many of the outpatients will be seen prior to the day of surgery at the Preoperative Testing clinic and will already have had a preop done and in the computer system. During the day residents are given a morning break (15 minutes), a lunch break (30 minutes), and an afternoon break (15 minutes). Non-OR based rotations such as OB anesthesia and Pain medicine will have a slightly later start time for the work day.

What other resources are available for fellows and residents?

The ORs are equipped with an electronic anesthesia record, so that all vital signs are automatically entered into the anesthesia record (giving you time to focus on the patient rather than charting vital signs on paper). Additionally, the hospital has an online medical record system, allowing you to access information about your patients including lab values, blood bank information, consult, admit, or discharge notes, ECGs, radiology reports, and old anesthesia records. This is an invaluable resource for researching your patient and very helpful in completing thorough pre-ops.

A TEE reading room is available for use and has texts as well as audiovisual equipment and computers to allow for TEE-related study. In addition, an echocardiography lab with high-fidelity TEE and TTE simulators is available for practicing manual skills for TEE and TTE.

There are many other online resources that are extremely useful. The Anesthesia Wiki Library is a resource created by a former BIDMC anesthesia resident. It has information about specific surgical procedures, surgeon preferences, and basics for anesthesia management. ADEL (Anesthesia Department Electronic Library) is an online library specifically designed for the BIDMC anesthesia department by a former Chief Resident who is now a member of our attending staff. It includes links to resources for each rotation (such as online syllabi created by each subspecialty division) and videos for performing procedures (like central and arterial lines).

As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, you can also get a Harvard ID badge. This badge allows you access to the Harvard Countway Medical Library, including many full text online journal articles. In addition, Beth Israel Deaconess has anesthesia libraries on both the East and West campuses, which house various useful anesthesia textbooks and subspecialty resources.

And finally, while there is a very generous education allowance, the department also gives you many of the textbooks you will need. Textbooks given to new residents include Basics of Anesthesia (Miller), either Miller's Anesthesia or Barash's Clinical Anesthesia, and subspecialty books covering critical care, thoracic anesthesia, cardiac anesthesia, vascular anesthesia, and OB anesthesia.

What types of visas do you sponsor for foreign medical graduates?

We strongly prefer J-1 visas.

Contact Information

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (Education Division)
P: 617-667-5048
F: 617-667-5050
Email: mcahill2@bidmc.harvard.edu

"BIDMC always has the newest equipment, monitors, etc.; everything is state of the art. For example, computerized records in the OR allow you to focus on patient care. Overall, the department consists of individuals who are very strong role models."
-CA-3 Resident
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine
Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine