Program Details

The most advanced anesthesia curriculum in Canada

Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine offers a five-year residency program that is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program incorporates exceptional clinical and academic learning with ample opportunities for research, global health experience and simulation training.

Stages of Training

The Anesthesia Program contains four levels of training: [Note: One block = four weeks]

  • Transition to Discipline: two blocks of orientation in non-subspecialty anesthesia
  • Foundations: 23 blocks of fundamental anesthesia, medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, critical care, pain/regional and elective/remediation
  • Core: 27 blocks of subspecialty anesthesia, medicine, critical care and elective/remediation
  • Transition to Practice: 13 blocks allocated but may be completed in a minimum of five blocks; includes complex anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, critical care, teaching and elective

Transition to Discipline

This eight-week stage emphasizes the orientation and assessment of new residents arriving from different medical schools and programs (including outside Canada).  It includes orientation to academic, administrative and clinical components required to succeed early in the Dalhousie anesthesia program.  New residents are matched with three clinical mentors who they will work with over the eight weeks. One of the mentors will become the resident's academic advisor for the residency program.  The clinical orientation also includes basic teaching sessions and an intensive simulation curriculum on management of common intraoperative problems.


This 23 block (1 block = 4 weeks) stage covers broad-based competencies that every trainee must acquire before moving on to more advanced, discipline-specific competencies.  This stage is comprised of nine modules:  airway and ENT, perioperative medicine, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, cardiovascular, pain and regional anesthesia, emergency and critical care, and other.  Each module helps the resident to focus on basic assessment and knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology combined with their application to anesthesia.  For example, the airway and ENT module includes one block on ENT surgery and two blocks of airway anesthesia.  The obstetrics module includes one block of obstetrics and one block of obstetrical anesthesia.  The rotation designated as "other" can be used for research, elective or remediation and allows for flexibility within the program.


This stage includes all the major subspecialty areas that make up the discipline.  Residents rotate though twelve modules over 47 blocks.  Modules include: pediatrics, neuroanesthesia, obstetrics, cardiovascular, thoracic, complex surgery, community and remote anesthesia as well as perioperative medicine, pain and regional anesthesia, emergency and critical care medicine and other.  The community rotations in both Core and Transition to Practice parts of the program take place in New Brunswick (Moncton or Saint John) and are an integral part of the program.  

Transition To Practice

This stage of residency is designed to promote independent practice.  Residents will complete a minimum of five blocks, including pediatrics, obstetrics, complex surgery, community anesthesia and critical care.  The other eight blocks can be used for electives or research.  Most residents will require the full 13 blocks however it may be possible to finish early if the resident is able to defend their portfolio to show that they have met all the required competencies and training elements. 


There is a formal course on research methodology and critical appraisal. There is an active journal and research club. Completion of a scholarly project during training is mandatory. Major areas of research activity in the department include pediatric and adult pain, airway management, obstetrics, cardiovascular and ambulatory anesthesia.

Academic curriculum

Residents are released from clinical duties on Wednesday afternoons to attend the academic program.  A completely renewed curriculum was rolled out in 2013/2014. Residents at the Foundations stage, participate in the Foundations Program, which concentrates on basic principles of anesthesia including preoperative assessment, pharmacology and physiology, anesthesia equipment and anesthesia practice.  Teaching is mostly case based, simulation, and small group learning. 

Core residents attend the Core Program which runs over two years and covers all subspecialties. Again, teaching is mostly case-based and via simulation.   The Transition to Practice year will concentrate on exam preparation and independent practice.