Dr. James Brown is an anesthesiologist who came to the specialty a little later in his career. Growing up in the UK Dr Brown notes, “the training structure is a little different in the UK from Canada – I had the opportunity to experience other specialties. I trained in emergency, internal medicine and cardiology before discovering anesthetics.”
This experience dovetails well with the developing approach to anesthetic services happening in BC. Dr Brown believes, “we are becoming more and more peri-operative physicians –optimizing patients before surgery, seeing them in high-risk clinics, and advising on care both pre and post procedure. My background helps me in this evolving role.”
Through the SSC, Dr Brown has taken advantage of the UBC Sauder Physician Leadership Program and states “I think anesthesiologists are lucky – we’re well set-up to take advantage of opportunities such as Sauder, partly because of how our time is structured – we work sessionally, most of us do not have our own patients, or regular fixed commitments, the same way most other specialties do. That kind of flexibility allows us to get involved in these kind of programs and projects.”
James finds it interesting that there are multiple anesthetic options and methods in how to approach any one procedure. Individualized patient care is important, attention to detail, and small considered variations in practice lead to significant differences in outcomes. He believes you can apply the same principles to make incremental improvements on a larger scale across the hospital. As he says, “you can chip away at little things that each make the system better at your hospital and keep moving things forward. A good example of this where anesthesiologists are making a difference is within Enhanced Recovery Programs”
An important part of moving things forward – is working well with people. James was drawn to his specialty because of the camaraderie among anesthesiologists and the teams that surround them. James says, “I am lucky to have worked with several inspirational mentors during my training, they are now my role-models.” He enthusiastically states “Anesthesia is an apprenticeship, the OR with one-to-one trainer-trainee teaching is an amazing learning environment.”
Dr Brown comments, “anesthesiologists are well placed to teach Crisis Resource Management skills.” James has helped setup an annual multidisciplinary obstetrics emergency simulation course for residents.
As he continues his career development – he is applying these principles. In his role at UBC Anesthetics Department as the Faculty Development Director, with SSC’s support, he recently organized a PLI course – “Engaging Others”; he is also involved with the PHSA’s Medical Staff Engagement initiative, funded through the SSC.
Dr Brown happily says “I’m lucky because I get to balance my clinical work with teaching, medical writing, research and service development – the thing I get pleasure and energy from is finishing projects and having something tangible to show for the effort – a manuscript, a course, or a local change in policy or practice. The next stage for me is mentoring others and enjoying their successes.”