Resident Reflections on the 2016 ASA Practice Management Conference

  • Nguyen-Buckley, Christine, MD
| Feb 22, 2016

nguyen-buckley_80   co-auths
Co-authored by Alan Hoang, MD, Robin Robbins, MD, Swayta Reddy, MD, and Adam Weiss, MD (not pictured).

"Most useful" and "best conference" were the most common terms I heard enthusiastically used by residents to describe the 2016 ASA Practice Management Conference.  As director of District 15, the resident section of CSA, I would like to introduce a piece written by four residents who received funding from the CSA to attend the resident track at this conference: Alan Hoang, MD, Swayta Reddy, MD, Adam Weiss, MD, and Robin Robbins, MD.  Below are their reflections on why this experience was so useful and valuable.

​With the generous support of the CSA, four resident members had the opportunity to attend ASA Practice Management 2016 in San Diego, California. This was the eighth year that the conference featured a dedicated resident track, with a lecture series that specifically caters to the interests of residents. There was an impressive turnout from residents from all over the country. In fact, it was the largest resident physician attendance to date—a testament to the importance of the topics covered, as well as the need to improve practice management curriculum in residency programs.


As Robin Robbins, MD (CA-2, UCSD) explained, “The subject of practice management moves away from the clinical knowledge and skills, and instead takes a systems-based view of our field. The lecture series covered a wide range of topics, including business management, politics, public speaking, quality improvement and patient safety, finance, and contract law.” This led to the discussion of many important questions we tend to overlook, including:

  • How does a modern anesthesia practice actually operate?
  • What are the best strategies to manage a multidisciplinary anesthesia team?
  • How do physician anesthesiologists lead in quality and patient safety initiatives?
  • What are important quality metrics to ensure appropriate compensation?
  • How do we add value to our profession?
  • What should residents look for in an employment contract, and who should they talk to before signing one?
  • How can we be successful in our transition from residency to practice?
  • How will the growing numbers of nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologist assistants impact physician anesthesiologists and the specialty of anesthesiology?

These topics are especially important as residents graduate and prepare to enter the “real world.” With only months left of residency, Swayta Reddy, MD (CA-3, UCLA) said, “I am becoming more aware of how little I know about the practice of anesthesia outside of the operating room.”  Feeling a similar lack of knowledge, Adam Weiss, MD (CA-3, UCSF) said, “I’ve mastered standardized testing, common applications, and the match, but entering the job market is something completely different. There are no timelines or group rankings. Nobody tells you when, where, or how to apply. Even the process of interviewing bears no relation to prior experiences.”

practman2Fortunately, the resident lecture series at ASA Practice Management 2016 “was wonderful in outlining the areas of the field that are important to the growth of our profession and gave us a wonderful opportunity to meet practice management leaders,” said Dr. Reddy.

The conference was not only invaluable to graduating residents, but proved useful for junior residents as well. According to Alan Hoang, MD (CA-1, UC Irvine) “we can use what we learned here as a foundation to develop a comprehensive practice management curriculum, whether at our respective institutions or even as a collaboration among CSA resident members.”

With much appreciation to CSA for sponsoring their attendance, the CSA resident attendees were able to leave San Diego feeling much more confident about the important issues outside of the operating room that they will face in their future careers.

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