With restricted operating rooms and HIPAA rules, it can be difficult for family members to see what anesthesiologists do on a daily basis. They can’t join them in the hospital to see the different procedures and responsibilities they’re needed for.

To help show our anesthesiologists’ loved ones what it’s like to be an anesthesiologist, we invited family and close friends of our faculty, fellows, residents, and staff to Family Day, a time where they can join us in our simulation center and walk through different stations to see the different procedures and equipment that anesthesiologists use. The different stations included regional anesthesia, obstetric and cardiothoracic anesthesia, an area for veterinarian anesthesia, even a teddy bear clinic for children.

“What Family Day is is it’s a chance for families of our residents, fellows, faculty, and staff to actually come in to our simulation center and interact with all the fun monitors and equipment we have to give them an idea of what we do all day,” said Dr. Michael Wall, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Minnesota.

This year’s event was well attended, with dozens of family members joining our faculty, staff, and trainees. Guests of all ages were able to try out the equipment in our simulation center. Children were even able to play with the monitors, examine and heal stuffed animals at the teddy bear clinic, and give pets to the therapy dog.

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“I’m really excited because they never get to see what I do. Obviously they can’t go into a real operating room, but it’s nice to show them a glimpse of what I do on a daily basis,” said Dr. Meagan King, an assistant professor with the department.

The event was an exciting time not just for spouses and significant others, but for children of our anesthesiologists as well.

“Today is super fun because medicine has to remain private a lot of the time. When Erik comes home, I can’t quite picture what his day is always like, so today is a fun example of what Erik spends his time doing and getting to show our son,” said Paige Anderson. “We took pictures of our son with some of the equipment so we can show him when he’s older."

With healthcare being emotionally taxing at times and the occasional experience of difficult cases, having a strong support system is important as an anesthesiologist. Family Day is an opportunity to show that support system what anesthesiologists do while at work.

“For me, family is my support people, especially through the ups and downs of residency. The people I can bring home fun stories about the amazing people I work with,” said Dr. Erik Anderson, a CA-2 resident.

Family Day is always a highlight for faculty, staff and trainees with the department being a tight-knit community. We want to thank all of our department and their loved ones who were able to make it to Family Day. It’s a privilege to showcase what our anesthesiologists do on a daily basis. We’re excited to welcome everyone back for our next Family Day.