Q: I’m an anesthesia intern and I’m really interested in cardiothoracic anesthesia. What is the best way to prepare myself to be accepted into a top fellowship program like Duke?

A: Speaking as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist myself and a former cardiothoracic fellowship program director, the best preparation for a top tier cardiothoracic fellowship (or any subspecialty fellowship for that matter) is by building a strong foundation in the fundamentals of anesthesiology during your residency training. Many trainees have asked me if they need to learn echocardiography prior to doing a CT fellowship. The answer is an emphatic no. An outstanding CT anesthesiology  fellowship like Duke’s has the faculty and resources to train you in echocardiography as part of your fellowship training. However, if you have the opportunity at your institution to learn about echocardiography through simulator training or clinical exams, you can start to build your foundation in echocardiography. But again, this is not a requirement to enter a great fellowship program and echo training should not supplant gaining knowledge and experience in anesthesia. Obviously, some exposure to cardiothoracic cases prior to fellowship is preferred — we want to know you based your career decision on experience.

Work ethic and curiosity are important, too. You can demonstrate those traits by working on projects in residency that interest you. Additionally, most programs look at in-training exam scores and USMLE scores. Why? During your one year fellowship, you will be learning cardiothoracic anesthesiology, taking the written boards, maybe taking the oral boards, looking for a job, and taking the advanced transesophageal echocardiography exam. We want to make sure you can manage test performance with all the other responsibilities of a fellowship year.

Dr. Annemarie ThompsonQ: I’m an anesthesia intern and I’m really interested in cardiothoracic anesthesia. What is the best way to prepare myself to be accepted into a top fellowship program like Duke?
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Q: What fellowships do Duke Anesthesia residents commonly pursue?

A: The most common fellowship pursued by our residents is cardiothoracic anesthesia. Here is a list of our 2015 graduates and their post-graduate plans:

Brad Berndt – Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Fellowship, Duke
Kayla Bryan – Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship, Medical College of Wisconsin/Children’s Hospital of WI
Eric Ehieli – Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, Duke
Lisa Einhorn – Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship, Duke
Brittani Hale – Private practice (Metropolitan Anesthesia Consultants), Dallas, TX
Jenny Hauck – Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Fellowship, Duke
Michele Hendrickson – Duke faculty
S. Todd Hobgood – Private practice (Northeast Anesthesia and Pain Specialists), Concord, NC
Ying Low – Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Fellowship, Duke
Dan Moyse – Pain Medicine Fellowship, Duke
Patrick Nailer – Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Fellowship, Duke
Bronwyn Southwell – Pain Medicine Fellowship, Duke
Justin Wikle – Pain Medicine Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Ankeet UdaniQ: What fellowships do Duke Anesthesia residents commonly pursue?
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