What is an anesthesia hack?
An anesthesia hack is a strategy, technique, or trick that makes your life in the OR easier. These tips, tricks, and techniques were passed on to you from your co-residents, attendings, CRNAs, CAAs, anesthesia techs, perioperative staff members, or something you devised that has helped you out tremendously. For the most part, you cannot find these techniques and tricks in medical textbooks or journals. Nonetheless, you use them every day in your practice, and you certainly remember who taught you certain tricks. For example, the first anesthesia hack I learned came from my older brother, Michael, who is also an anesthesiologist. Back in 1999, when I was a resident, he said to me, “Take the patient’s weight in pounds, divide it by 2 and take 10% off, then you will have your patient’s approximate weight in kilograms. It is a very good approximation that you can calculate in your head instead of taking out a calculator. From there, you can set your drug doses, your tidal volume, and maintenance fluid rate.” For example, a 150-lb patient is 68.18 kg using a calculator. Using my brother’s hack formula, it is 67.5 kg: (150/2) = 75; 75-7.5 = 67.5 kg. It is pretty close and is a calculation you can do in your head.
Another hack I learned as a resident is that I.V. and drug lines should never touch the floor. This technique is from the late Stanley Leeson, MD, who would shake his head in disappointment when he saw this occur. I still see his wise, saddened face each time I see an I.V. line touch the ground. We, as anesthesiologists, all have certain “hidden gem” techniques that can also serve as pleasant, nostalgic flashbacks. For that reason, I think about my brother every day at work.
These teachable strategies are perhaps not suited for a peer-reviewed scientific journal, but they readily lend themselves to instructional videos on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Tik-Tok, and Facebook. The purpose of the article is to collect, in a fun and informative fashion, a wealth of anecdotal anesthesia information collected over the years from colleagues. In addition, at UF Health-Jacksonville, we are creating TikTok videos with our anesthesia residents to show the different types of hacks that make our lives easier. It is my hope to publish a follow-up article, “Anesthesia Hacks 2.0,” in the future with additional hacks if this article and our online videos are well received. I invite all ASA members to contribute to our “Book of Anesthesia Hacks” by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also challenge all anesthesia providers to create their own TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube video sharing your own anesthesia hacks. This could prove to be a fun, group-sharing knowledge grab for our anesthesia colleagues around the world. Please tag UF Health Jacksonville Anesthesia Hacks (@anesthesiahacks) so we can see and share in what you are doing.
How have new social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok transformed the way we receive medical information?
While all the platforms differ in their approach to learning, the premise is the same – presenting high-impact knowledge about a subject in a short but attention-grabbing format with special effects, music, and dynamic narration. Since I am most familiar with the TikTok format, I will discuss its implication to anesthesia learning. According to the article “What TikTok Reveals About the Future of Education” by author Kandice Faktor, TikTok has become one of the largest learning venues. Creators post short videos on everything from cooking, dance moves, crafts, education, and sports. LearnOnTikTok has billions of views and growing. She has several ideas why TikTok has become such a popular learning venue (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc).
Empowered creators: TikTok is designed so anyone can be a video creator. From there, it is easy to share information and find an audience. It empowers all kinds of teachers by giving them a venue independent from formal educational institutions and an innovative way to meet students (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc). Influence is the new accreditation: “Creators on TikTok are not necessarily overall experts in their field but experts in a skill.” – Kandice Faktor. It is their skills and ability to teach in a compelling way that gives them authority and influence over those who see their videos. Faktor states that people are looking for demonstrated mastery or recognition versus traditional institutional credentials (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc).
Fun learning and actively engaged learners: Students are there because they want to be there. TikTok acts on this concept by being fun, engaging, and informative. People show up by choice. They have a love of the subject matter and the communities that support them. There are no certificates or course credits (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc). It is really used to learn something new and now.
The future of learning will be social: TikTok can be a powerful tool in education. It is unique in that it is a learning venue and a social network. People scroll through content and find new groups with shared interests. However, TikTok also has clear limitations. For example, the maximum video length is three minutes, which makes an in-depth education or detailed skills training impossible (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc). On the other hand, it does lend itself well to most hacks.
TikTok also does not provide live connection or accountability. These are two essential components absent from this type of online learning (asamonitor.pub/3BKGvSc). I would not choose to present peer-reviewed material on TikTok or any social website. Presenting positive, lighthearted, and practical tips/tricks on social media that promote the discipline of anesthesiology is where this article and the internet work in synchrony.
Listed in the Table are a sampling of the anesthesia hacks we have collected at UF Health-Jacksonville. Some of them you likely know already. Many are common sense. I have given credit to the last person who taught me the hack, who may or may not necessarily be the original creator. Hacks are like rumors – it is hard to know who started them. It is my hope that readers can use some of these hacks to make their anesthesia lives easier.