Medical students can elect to participate in anesthesiology rotations during their third and fourth year, either as a part of anesthesiology course or surgical clerkship. Anesthesiology rotations introduce medical students to the comprehensive intraoperative and immediate perioperative care of patients provided in the context of anesthesia, mainly airway management and care of the unconscious patient.
Even if you're not considering anesthesiology as your primary specialty, rotations in this field are valuable opportunity to develop practical skills and knowledge that can serve as a foundation for practice even in other specialties.
Whether you're student on rotation or an anesthesiology resident, you might need a good and concise reference guide that would help you get information as quick as possible.
Dr James Lamberg, a physician anesthesiologist from Pennsylvania, created a free app for iPhone named Gas Guide that gives students and residents a quick and easy access to anesthesia information, operative safety checklists, and other useful guidelines and recommendations required in the operating room and during anesthesiology rotations.
As its creator stated, the Gas Guide app is most suited to junior doctors in anesthesiology rotations or training, but other specialties can use it as well.
When you open the app, you'll see that the design and the interface are quite simple. The app looks like a book with chapters. But, that's one impressive thing about it; it is like a book tucked in your pocket and available to you all the time.
Another great thing about the Gas Guide app, despite its simplicity, is the content with a great share of information that is also easy to navigate. While the content is probably a little too simple to be useful for experienced physicians, students and junior doctors will certainly appreciate the information provided in a free mobile form.
The app's home screen is an alphabetical list of main anesthesiology topics or categories that range from airway management and meds by weight, patient monitoring and safety, to problems, pharmacology and vascular access. Tapping on any of the options on the main screen opens another list of topics related to the main category.
Airway & Meds by Weight category provides detailed description of an airway procedure and all medications used based on the patient's weight, which is listed from 2-3kg (4-7lbs) to 120kg+ (264lbs+).
Medications are listed by categories, i.e. premedications, induction agents, sedation, analgesics, etc. with each providing various meds along with the dosage.
Airway procedure steps are also given here, but the Airway Management category provides the information in more detail, allowing you to learn about anything from initial airway evaluation to how to perform intubation or set the ventilator.
You'll notice that each topic in the app comprises of several sections, which are just snippets of text that provide brief but concise information. This works well, making the app simple and easy-to-use, which is the main reason why medical students would use it. The content, although presented in this simple manner, is stuffed with valuable information, reminding of familiar flashcards format, which is another reason why the students would find it user-friendly.
Medications are also explained in a greater detail in Pharmacology category that covers topics about various types of medications used, ranging from analgesics to muscle relaxants, as well as side effects and interactions of certain medications and herbal supplements.
Of course, medication doses provided within the app will probably vary based on your country and local protocols, so keep that in mind before referring to the Gas Guide app.
Same goes for resuscitation algorithms, which are also available as a separate category on the main screen. These 'algorithms' are basically recommended steps that cover advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, as well as neonatal and pediatric resuscitation.
Students and junior doctors can also read more about pre-operative steps, common problems they may face in the OR, regional anesthesia or how to access vascular system.
The Gas Guide app also provides detailed guidelines on patient monitoring, as well as patient safety, which also contain protocols and recommendations from authority sources, such as FDA, WHO, etc.
Each topic in the app is well-referenced, containing the sources at the bottom of the page. Sources, however, are not linked, and they're almost invisible until you scroll down to the end of the page. It would be better if all the references are also grouped at one spot (like References section).
The app, tho, links to The New York School of Regional Anesthesia, Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States, and American Society of Anesthesiologists websites in the About section.
Also, the Gas Guide app is heavy on text, while it can actually add some multimedia to enrich the content, such as images or illustrations of certain procedures, i.e. airway management, vascular access, positioning of the patient, etc.
Nevertheless, the Gas Guide app provides an impressive amount of information even in such simple textual format. That makes it a must-have medical guide for any junior physician or medical student, who wants to have the concise anesthesia resource at their fingertips.
Benefit: This app is a free anesthesia resource intended for medical students and residents.