Briggs John

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY AS A RESIDENT

Get up, usually between 4:30 and 5, to a brewing pot of coffee. A quick shower helps to wake me up, and I get ready quickly. Then I'm off to the OR for whatever the day may hold: new blocks, interesting cases, and always something to learn. At the end of the day, I head home to my beautiful wife and get ready for the next day.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ANESTHESIOLOGY AS YOUR SPECIALTY?

There’s nothing else to choose. I love the integration of every part of medicine with immediate feedback. I wanted to know I could take care of the sickest patient; and now, I can.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN RESIDENCY?

Intern year is hard because you are an intern. CA1 year is hard because you are an intern all over again—except it's your chosen specialty. Every time you have a problem, it’s the first time you’ve seen it. CA2 year is hard because you are assuming more responsibility and you realize how much you have learned. CA3 is hard because you are trying to soak everything up because it goes by so fast.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

My wife and I like to be active, whether at the gym or trail running. We enjoy it. We also enjoy traveling, specifically for food and wine tasting.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE UAB FOR ANESTHESIA RESIDENCY?

UAB provided an opportunity to train at a world-class institution where we would be able to afford to live well. My wife finished her internal medicine residency and absolutely loved it. We have made friends that I have no doubt we will keep as long as we can use a phone. To put it simply, the internal medicine program told us during our intern orientation: "We will push you beyond your comfort zone; that is where learning takes place. Because at UAB, we are all pursuing excellence, but with an important distinction: Our motto is excellence without ego.” I had already started my residency at this point, but I knew it was the only place for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER FINISHING YOUR RESIDENCY?

I will be going back into the Air Force as an active duty anesthesiologist. I am awaiting my orders.

WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD YOU TO BETTER PREPARE YOU TO BE A CHIEF RESIDENT?

I wish the intricacies of scheduling could be relayed without having to suffer through mistakes. Experiential learning is the only way to gain the knowledge, but I wish there were a better way.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE QUALITIES OR CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD ANESTHESIOLOGIST?

Despite a common myth, anesthesiologists must be incredibly personable and sensitive. In a matter of minutes, vital information must be obtained prior to anesthetizing. Simultaneously, the trust of a patient and often a family must be garnered in order to comfort loved ones and reassure patients on what may be the most difficult day of his or her life. One must be competent in every aspect of patient care, but our job is more than putting people to sleep and waking them up.