By the end of his or her residency, the resident should have the skills necessary to act as an independent practitioner. One of the tools used to attain this goal at Mass General is the first-call experience. Each night, a senior resident leads the resident call team. As the first call resident, they are responsible for communicating with the nursing and surgical teams, allocating the resident resources, and managing the OR overnight.
The first-call resident is responsible for supervising the residents doing cases and is their primary backup for questions and help. The first-call resident teaches junior residents, often assisting them in the management of cases and techniques they have not previously encountered. An attending anesthesiologist is always on call with them and is present for all cases; the role of the attending is to support and teach, allowing the first-call resident to take the lead and make the transition from resident to independent anesthesiologist.
By the end of residency, each resident has extensive first-call experience. Graduates say this experience is invaluable when they find themselves in practice.