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When approached by Dr. Zvara and the UNC School of Medicine (SOM) Capstone director about developing an anesthesia boot camp, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Dr. Ty Bullard jumped at the chance. Increasingly, medical school departments across the nation offer wide-ranging practical skills courses for MS4s. But in a twist, Bullard pushed to develop a curriculum targeting not only MS4s entering anesthesiology, but also those headed into other specialties.

LEFT – Assistant Professor Dr. Liz Ross demonstrating central line placement to MS4 students / RIGHT – UNC School of Medicine MS4s Benjamin Crisp and Jocelyn Wang (Class of ’17) learn to conduct a tracheotomy via a common medium for learning surgical procedures pre-application to patients.

To offer an optimal experience, Bullard worked with Dr. Jon Jones of Emergency Medicine to recruit faculty from both the OR and the ED to help design and facilitate the course. Utilizing the Department’s own CAPSEL simulation resources, a hands-on curriculum quickly materialized, featuring complimentary lectures, workshops and resident panels.

When the SOM’s annual Capstone week arrived in April 2017, 21 MS4s from across seven disciplines became the first at UNC to take the new boot camp. Covering topics including crisis management and running a code, Bullard’s course focused on critical event skills that every intern might covet. He noted:

“Many departments traditionally host Capstone courses only for [MS4s] matching into that particular specialty. We wanted to design a camp that would be useful for [MS4s] going into any specialty, and we also wanted to touch on some things where we recognized a gap in the curriculum, like personal finance.”

UNC EM-bound MS4 Chris Gardner initially thought that parts of an anesthesia boot camp might not pertain to his area of emphasis as an ER doctor. His concern, however, was relieved on Day One.

“This boot camp could be relevant to just about any rising intern. Dr. Bullard and the boot camp faculty worked tirelessly to provide our class with a robust and immersive week-long Capstone experience — clinical cases, simulations, a review of technical skills, and useful lectures on the legal aspects of medicine and personal finance. These topics often go overlooked in a traditional medical school curriculum.”

UC-San Diego anesthesia resident Dr. Paola Lopomo also reflected on her experience as a component of the camp.

“Boot camp provided opportunity to approach residency as my best self by including lectures on burnout, financial management and happiness. While all of these experiences were vital to preparing me for residency, in the end, involving passionate, knowledgeable, kind-hearted attendings made every lecture and simulation interesting, animated, and worthwhile.”

Bullard stresses that the success of the inaugural boot camp is a credit to the many Anesthesiology* and EM faculty** who worked with him to roll out a truly unique experience. And as for MS4 Bootcamp 2018, Bullard plans to add integration with the Department of Surgery as well, stating, “Getting our perioperative and critical care students used to collaboration early in the game can only make for a better team down the line.”

*Anesthesiology: Drs. Rob Isaak, Lavinia Kolarcyk, Kate Cobb, Paul Halweg, Mark Henry, Rob Kyle, Sharon Kapeluk, Susie Martinelli, Randyl Coombs, Jenny Eskilden, Eva Waller, Adam Suchar, Elizabeth Ross, Maryam Jowza, Fran D’Ercole, David Zvara, Dan Rosenkrans, Megan Henley, Matt Hallman & Bryan Whitlow.
**Emergency Medicine: Drs. Jon Jones, Michael Harrigan, Sarah Stahmer, Cory Hines