Vital Times 2021 - 79

surgical volume decreased, residents still felt competent
in their proficiency as an anesthesiologist.
Perhaps the residents most affected by
COVID-19 were incoming CA-1s. Their
intern year had already been upended by
the start of the pandemic, and in many
cases, they were moving to a new city to
start anesthesia training. The cancellation
of all in-person activities meant difficulties
welcoming them into a department and
fostering a sense of community.
Dr. Nosrat: I think the CA-1s had a very different
experience than our CA-2 class, as they were not able to
meet through our regular department-sanctioned social
events and mixers. The social element is a crucial one
for our department, and definitely helped me with the
transition to a new city and new department. Our chief
resident in charge of social events held Zoom happy
hours and then outdoor events once we were vaccinated.
Dr. Morris: Last year all discretionary funds were frozen
by the university, preventing not just the usual teambuilding
trips, but even the welcome gifts. In light of
this, residents and faculty collected thousands of their
own dollars to buy jackets and bags for all thirty of the
new trainees and fund some unofficial COVID-compliant
activities. This by no means made up for everything the
CA-1s missed out on, but the small gesture was much
appreciated
Another major milestone in the career of
anesthesia residents is that of securing a
fellowship or practice position and preparing
to start independent practice. This year, that
meant hours of Zoom interviews in lieu of
flying for in-person visits and leveraging
other resources at their disposal locally.
Dr. Landon: As travel became limited, the value of
professional networks became more important than ever
for those looking for jobs and fellowship positions. It
also seemed that more applicants were looking towards
regions that were well known to them since traveling to
far-reached areas was not possible during the pandemic.
Dr. Nosrat: Looking for a job has felt like a very organic
process. There was an initial fear that COVID would
result in less people hiring, but in my brief search so far
it seems that surgical volume has picked back up and
practices are hiring again. Having been vaccinated, I am
optimistic that I will be able to fly and interview in-person
with select practices at the top of my list.
Although at times exhausting and
demoralizing for many anesthesia
trainees, the pandemic has given our
work as physicians a renewed sense of
importance. And despite social distancing
and Zoom lectures, in some ways it has
helped to strengthen many bonds within
our training programs.
Dr. Nosrat: COVID has provided some unique challenges
to all facets of life. I feel grateful to be working in health
care and making a tangible difference every day in the
lives of my patients. Anesthesiology will continue to be
a valuable field that has demonstrated its importance
during this pandemic. Creating value through balanced
clinical work, leadership, and organizational work will
ensure that you always have a seat at the table.
Dr. Salazar: There is no doubt that the pandemic was
challenging, but we rose to the occasion, and we are very
proud of the work we did to serve our community.
A big shout-out to our anesthesia department leadership,
including our department chair Dr. Jeanette Derdemezi
and program director Dr. Clinton Kakazu, for their heroic
efforts throughout the pandemic.
Annual Publication 2021 | 79

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