Nervous before an Anesthesia Job Interview? Put yourself in a Box.

Anesthesia job interviews are definitely nerve wracking. Even with all the prep sometimes your nerves just get the best of you. So how do you calm down when you are sitting there in lobby waiting to be called in? You get in your Box.
Nervous anesthesia job

It’s “OK” to be nervous before an anesthesia job interview.

It’s natural.

You might start feeling a little nervous a few days or hours out from the interview, and when it’s time to walk through the door, it’s just full-blown heart-pounding chaos in your chest. However, when it’s time to start you need to reel in those emotions.

When stress starts kicking in, it’s time to get in your Box.

What I am referring to is a technique called Box Breathing. Made popular by the Navy Seals, it allows them to stay calm and heightens focus and concentration under stressful situations. This powerful technique has made its way into the civilian world. Police officers and first responders are learning Box Breathing so they can deal with the stressful nature of their work. And even the general public has been learning of the benefits of incorporating Box Breathing into their daily lives.

It’s a simple method that can help you recenter yourself in little as 5 minutes.

What is the Box?

The Box represents the four corners of breathing: inhalation, breath hold, exhalation, breath hold. The technique utilizes a simple 1:1:1:1 ratio leading to deep diaphragmatic breathing.

(Time to get anesthesia nerdy for a second.) You remember the vagus nerve. When your patient’s vagus nerve is stimulated their heart rate drops and yours goes up until you tell the surgeon to knock off whatever they are doing. With Box Breathing you can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to decrease your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. As all your physiological systems slow down, anxiety decreases and allows you to recenter your mind to focus on the moment.

So why not give it a try?

Where to Begin?

It starts with practice. Ideally, your first session is in a quiet place where you can concentrate on the technique.

The first time, start in a sitting position with your back against a chair and feet flat on the floor.

  1. Inhale for a count of 4.
  2. Hold for a count of 4.
  3. Exhale for a count of 4.
  4. Hold for a count of 4.

Then repeat. It’s that simple. Practice for 5 minutes. Then keep practicing every day.

Over time you will be able to implement it anywhere. Before a presentation, in the OR, or before stepping into that interview.

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