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Frequently Asked Questions

The following common questions have been answered by our residents and staff to provide more information about the Anesthesiology Residency at Mayo:

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How Do I Prepare for a Residency in Anesthesiology?

Matching in a competitive anesthesiology residency program such as the one at Mayo requires careful and dedicated preparation throughout medical school. No matter what specialty you choose, such preparation will help make you more confident, competent and comfortable in your practice. Although we consider each application in its entirety, USMLE scores are often one of the earliest components of your application that we receive. Therefore, it's very important to work hard and excel in the first two years of medical school to be well prepared for USMLE Step 1.

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How competitive is the anesthesiology program?

Dean's letters often provide valuable information about your performance throughout medical school. Significant weight is placed on your consistently high performance throughout medical school, as reflected on your Dean's letter, as well as election to AOA. During your clinical clerkship years, in addition to earning good evaluations you should carefully consider every specialty you rotate through (including anesthesiology). This way, you will make a more "informed" decision to enter into anesthesiology (which will be reflected in your personal statement and reference letters). If your medical school permits away rotations, a visiting fourth-year clerkship at Mayo is an excellent way to learn about the program and for us to get to know you.

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How competitive is anesthesiology at Mayo?

The popularity and demand for anesthesiology as a career has ballooned over the past few years, making it one of the most competitive fields in medicine. Mayo has consistently been one of the more competitive programs in the country. Although good board scores and high academic achievement are important, we consider many other factors when determining our final match list.

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What is a good strategy for planning fourth-year electives?

Often medical students are not exposed to anesthesiology until the fourth year of medical school. If your school does not offer third-year required or elective anesthesiology rotations, sign up for a fourth-year elective as soon as you can in your fourth year. While on other rotations (e.g. surgery), it's not out of the question to spend some time with the anesthesia team (don't do this at the expense of your surgical rotation, however). As a profession, you'll find us very accommodating to students. This is often the time when students are first exposed to anesthesiology. Other helpful fourth-year electives once you've decided to pursue anesthesiology include cardiology, pulmonary medicine, nephrology, and critical care (surgical ICU).

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Do I need to do a fourth-year anesthesiology elective at Mayo?

Although a rotation with us is not necessary either for applying to the program or to eventually match into the program (all other factors being equal), we strongly believe that personal and professional interactions with potential candidates makes it much easier for our faculty to evaluate you beyond "the numbers." Additionally, it puts a face to the datasheet! This also gives you the opportunity to explore our program in more depth. After spending a month in our department, we are confident that you will discover what a great place Mayo is to train and potentially practice professionally. Please see the medical student clerkship page for more information on setting up an elective with our department.

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When should I do a rotation at Mayo?

The best months to do electives with us are August through November. July is not the best time, as we have new trainees that we are orienting to the operating rooms. If you can do a fourth-year elective in May or June prior to starting your fourth year, you'll probably find even more learning opportunities. We welcome you to do a rotation any time of the year.

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Do I need to take USMLE Step 2?

A Step 2 score is not required prior to applying to Mayo. However, if your Step 1 score is less than stellar, a good score on Step 2 will definitely strengthen your application.

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What if I'm really "average"?

At Mayo, we consider each applicant based on all merits. Let us make the decision on how good you are!

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What if I'm from an osteopathic school?

Mayo has had several residents (and even faculty members) with D.O. degrees. We consider each applicant based on all merits. It's beneficial, although not mandatory, if you take the USMLE exams.

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What if I want to switch from another residency?

Although we do not "reserve" residency slots for current residents in other programs, we will consider outstanding applicants wishing to switch to anesthesiology. Please contact the education coordinator, Karen Hammell, regarding this issue. See the "Program Contacts" section for information on how to reach Karen.

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Do you participate in ERAS?

Yes. We require Step 1 USMLE scores from all applicants. However, Step 2 may be completed even after the interview. Nonetheless, completion of USMLE Step 1 and of Step 2 CS and CK is mandatory prior to matriculation into the residency program (i.e., PGY1, clinical base year). Furthermore, Mayo requires that residents pass Step 3 before beginning the PGY2 year (i.e., clinical anesthesia year 1, CA-1).

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What is your application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec. 1. You are welcome to check the status of your application by calling Karen Hammell at (507) 255-6219 or by e-mail at hammell.karen@mayo.edu.

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Do you accept foreign medical graduates (FMG)? What Visas do you sponsor?

We accept well-qualified FMGs through the match process. Mayo Clinic may sponsor J-1 Visas, depending on the situation. Please contact Ann Lance in our international office at (507) 284-2915 for more information.

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How many residents do you take through the match?

The number of residents accepted each year varies based on the final match list. In a typical year, we accept 18 residents through the match process.

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How many applications do you receive each year?

We receive more than 600 applications each year. We typically interview 100 to 120 of these applicants.

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When will you be conducting interviews?

We conduct interviews from the end of October through January. Our interview process is one day only (Monday or Friday), and is designed to familiarize the applicant with current residents, the department, the staff, Mayo Clinic's facilities and the city of Rochester.

Candidates typically arrive the day prior (Sunday or Thursday) and will be taken to dinner by a group of current residents (along with spouses and significant others). Interviews and tours of the campus are held in the morning of the following work day and are typically finished by 1 p.m. Candidates are then taken to lunch with several current residents.

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Do you reimburse travel expenses for the interview process?

Mayo does not reimburse candidates for transportation or incidental costs incurred during the interview process. However, all candidates are provided a hotel room for up to two nights close to campus, and their spouses/significant others are hosted at a dinner with residents the evening prior to the interview. Applicants will also have lunch with residents on the day of their interview.

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What is a preliminary year, and will I need to apply for one?

A preliminary year (internship) is your postgraduate year 1 (PGY1). Residents in the anesthesiology program would have typically completed PGY1 training in medicine (i.e., medicine preliminary year), although a preliminary year training in surgery or "transitional" programs (mix of medicine, surgery, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and critical care) are acceptable. Some of our anesthesia residents will have completed their PGY1 training at Mayo Rochester ("categorical" residents), while others join the residency program having completed their PGY1 training elsewhere ("advanced"). For more details, please contact Karen Hammell at (507) 255-6219 or by e-mail at hammell.karen@mayo.edu.

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What preliminary year opportunities are offered at Mayo Rochester?

Mayo offers a limited number of preliminary year spots in Internal Medicine. Our department typically has nine residents who finish their internship/preliminary year via this mechanism. Please contact Furman S. McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., Internal Medicine Preliminary Residency Program Director, at (507) 266-1256.

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Do I need to match with my PGY 1 year and my first year of anesthesia at the same time?

Yes, for complete information on the application process, see the ERAS home page.

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What is your call schedule like?

The call schedule varies between hospitals; the average is every four to six nights, with the following day off. Obviously, on intensive care rotations, the schedule is determined separately (typically call every third or fourth night).

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Why should I choose to train at Mayo Clinic?

Because:

  • The faculty is diverse.
  • The off-service rotations are unparalleled.
  • The ancillary staff is amazing.
  • Acuity is high.
  • The variety is amazing.
  • The research opportunities are endless.
  • The resources to pursue your individual interests in anesthesiology are vast.
  • Residents play an integral role in designing the program.
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How is the relationship between surgeons and anesthesiologists?

Mayo strongly believes in the team approach to patient care. Surgical and anesthesia teams work hand in hand at every location. Mutual respect among all healthcare providers is expected at Mayo. We strive for excellent communication between surgical and anesthesia teams to ensure patient safety and good outcomes.

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How can I get good anesthesia training at a place that only sees zebras?

This is a common misconception among resident applicants from outside Mayo. Although Mayo Clinic has an international reputation and provides care to patients from a number of countries, Mayo Clinic is also the referral center for all of southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and the Dakotas. It is also the primary caregiver for all of southeast Minnesota. In fact, a majority of Mayo's patients are from the U.S., and a significant fraction of those are from the Midwest. The zebras only drop in a minority of the time.

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What types of patients will I see in a week working in the ORs?

We take care of patients who can be classified as American Society of Anesthesiologists physical class I (i.e., otherwise healthy) to class V (i.e., extremely sick and unlikely to survive long). Residents may provide anesthesia for young, healthy patients requiring minor surgery (e.g., cast application/removal, plastics) all the way to a "crashing" thoracoabdominal aneurysm. During the course of residency training, residents are exposed to the entire gamut of patients, and with repetition.

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Do you see enough trauma?

Mayo sees a number of blunt trauma cases, especially relating to farming accidents or motor vehicle accidents. Penetrating trauma is lower in numbers for Rochester.

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Are residents involved in resuscitations?

Anesthesia residents are an integral part of the hospital resuscitation teams. Even during certain rotations of the preliminary year, interns may participate in "codes" throughout the hospital. During the clinical anesthesia years, residents on specific rotations and all CA2 residents are integral members of the code team.

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How is your pediatric experience?

The pediatric surgical caseload has been constantly increasing at Mayo Rochester. Indeed, we were recently accredited for a fellowship in pediatric anesthesia. We have also recently recruited a number of young faculty members into the Division of Pediatric Anesthesia. In the past two years, our residents have easily reached the numbers of pediatric cases required by the ABA. Furthermore, all residents are encouraged to rotate to Nemours Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., for additional pediatric anesthesia experience. For residents interested in pursuing a pediatric anesthesia fellowship, arrangements can be made to enhance their experience in this area.

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Is high-fidelity simulation a big part of your curriculum?

Mayo has a recently inaugurated multidisciplinary simulation center. Our residents rotate through the Simulation Center 3 to 4 times per year. There are currently no structured rotations involving simulation only. However, simulation approaches are being used in a number of workshops to teach skills such as airway management, bronchoscopy, regional anesthesia and line placement. We also conduct group scenarios representing the OR, ICU and in-hospital codes.

Although these are intense learning experiences, they are a lot of fun. The actors, scenario operators and the consultants have as much fun as the residents do, if not more. The encounters are designed to pack a lot of learning objectives into the scenario, and one learns a lot when placed in these situations. The team approach is always emphasized. After the encounter, debriefings with the entire team are conducted. A discussion of the cases reinforces the teaching points and includes opportunities to discuss what was done well, and what can be improved upon.

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Can you do rotations at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and Arizona?

Yes. Please refer to the Curriculum section for more information.

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Do residents get enough teaching? If so, does it come mainly from other residents or do the faculty teach as well?

Teaching is a top priority of our residency program. First, the residency review committee (RRC) requires all anesthesia residency programs to have in place a structured didactic program. We have an outstanding team of faculty members who give almost all of our lectures. Furthermore, every faculty member makes it a point to do "bedside" teaching in the ORs and ICUs.

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Where do your residents go after graduating?

Our residents choose both academic and private practice opportunities after graduation. A significant number of graduates will pursue a fellowship either at Mayo or at other institutions. The department of anesthesiology recruits most of its faculty from its own residency classes. We are proud that we have graduates from the anesthesia residency program practicing in all 50 states.

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Do you have a book fund?

Yes. All anesthesia residents (not preliminary year interns) are allowed to purchase books or journal subscriptions not to exceed a total of $1,000 over three years of residency.

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What is there to do in Rochester?

Here is what some of our residents have to say about activities in Rochester:

"Rochester has a great trail system for running and biking, and hunting and fishing are abundant. We are only one hour from Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Rochester Civic Center hosts several well-known artists for concerts."

"Rochester is a beautiful city full of recreational activities. There are trails running all over the city for walking, jogging, biking and rollerblading. I'm told that there are a lot of cross-country skiing opportunities in the winter. There are many parks and public golf courses. There are movie theaters (for which Mayo has discounted tickets available), bowling alleys and some decent shopping. There is an amatuer baseball team (the Honkers) that plays at Mayo Field as well as other sporting events."

"It's Minnesota, so there are several lakes relatively close-by for fishing, camping and boating. There are several good restaurants in Rochester. The Twin Cities are about 90 minutes away with every major league sporting event, amusement parks, etc. (again, Mayo offers discounted tickets)."

"The Olmsted County Fair is held in Rochester at the end of July, and there are Sunday night concerts in July and August that are free. They try to get up-and-coming bands for these concerts. Bottom line is, there are lots of fun and interesting activities in Rochester. Sometimes, it just means trying new things!"

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What fellowships do you offer?

We currently offer fellowships in Critical Care, Pain Management, Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Pediatric Anesthesia, Neuroanesthesia, Obstetric Anesthesia, Transplant Anesthesia, and Regional Anesthesia.

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