This was my second winter solstice at ANMC, so I must be into the darkness….but actually, I had such a great time my first go round that I wanted to come back! For both of my rotations, I spent all 4 weeks in the ICU. I’m in the primary care track, and wanted more time in the ICU so that I’ll feel comfortable in independent practice after residency; ANMC certainly helped me get there. The attendings are universally excited about having residents around, and love teaching about critical care and procedures. You will certainly have lots of opportunities for lines, intubations, thoras, paras, and I placed my first chest tube at ANMC.
The patients come from across Alaska, and are truly critically ill, with a wide range of medical problems. Lots of patients with cirrhosis (often devastatingly young people), garden variety sepsis, and some rare and intriguing diseases. I took care of a young woman with newly diagnosed sarcoid, and another patient with newly diagnosed lupus. You will have lots of opportunities to have long conversations with families, to get to know patients, and to “run the show” as much as you are comfortable, with backup if needed.
You will be struck by tremendous health disparities, and will notice that despite the cold, Anchorage has a sizable homeless population, many of whom are Alaska Native, and some of whom you will care for in the ICU. I’d recommend taking the time to read recent journal articles that discuss the social determinants of health and structural racism to put into context some of the poor health that you will see. You may find that you’ll want to come back to ANMC, and you will surely connect with lovely patients and families who will appreciate your care!
On the enjoying Alaska front, there is a ton to do in Anchorage, and you’ll definitely not be bored! Skiing at Alyeska is fun, some decent steep skiing, and fantastic views out onto the Turnagain Arm. There is great backcountry skiing up at Hatcher Pass and Turnagain too!
I cannot recommend this rotation highly enough! You’ll learn a ton, and have time to explore Alaska too!