Subspecialty Training Program

Close collaboration with exceptional faculty

If you’ve already completed a residency related to critical care, consider honing your knowledge by participating in Dalhousie’s subspecialty training program in adult critical care medicine. Each year, we admit two exceptional candidates into our two-year program.

Accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, this program offers the successful applicants individualized attention from exceptional faculty members, deep exposure to critical care medicine and leading simulation-based learning.

Our Program Director Dr. Sarah McMullen and our Program Administrator Leigh Purcell have a passion for delivering education that works for the learner. Should you have any questions relating to our Adult Critical Care Training program please feel free to contact them via Leigh at

How does it work?

Over the course of the two-year training program, you’ll spend five rotations in the med/surg intensive care unit (ICU) based at the Victoria General site and six rotations at the med/surg/neuro ICU at the Halifax Infirmary site at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Additional rotations include:

  • the cardiovascular ICU
  • a compulsory rotation in a community ICU (Dartmouth, Kentville, or Saint John)
  • specific rotations that provide the skills you need to function as an intensivist (for example, internal medicine applicants will complete an anesthesia rotation, while anesthesia applicants will complete an internal medicine rotation.)

Together, these rotations will offer:

  • experience in developing care plans
  • opportunities to apply your learned knowledge to clinical situations
  • grand rounds
  • journal clubs
  • morbidity & mortality rounds
  • case-based discussions led by subject experts

During the training, you’ll also work on a research project, lead simulation sessions and participate in bioethics seminars. Plus, with members of our department caring for approximately 2000 patients per year, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to engage with a variety of individuals with a range of medical challenges.


As a crucial part of our health care team, you will help to provide round the clock care for the most acutely ill patients. During your first three months, you’ll provide in-house call coverage once every four nights. For the rest of your training, you’ll cover a week of night call from Sunday to Thursday.

Night call is scheduled at the Halifax Infirmary site during all ICU rotations, with the exception of your final rotation, which will take place at the Victoria General site. Your rotation will run from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning, and you’ll be relieved of your duties by 9 a.m.

During your training, you’ll also participate in daily ICU rounds, weekly rounds and weekly academic half days.

Where will I work?

You’ll be based at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, but you may also do elective rotations outside of Halifax if the program director approves your request. This provides excellent exposure, since the 11-bed ICU at the Victoria General site has approximately 700 admissions per year, while the 13-bed ICU at the Halifax Infirmary site has approximately 1000 admissions per year.

Top-notch educators

At the Department of Critical Care, all faculty members participate in their primary discipline—anesthesia, internal medicine, emergency medicine or surgery—while also functioning as critical care specialists. In addition to this, they each develop academic interests related to critical care research, medical education or health administration.

Our leading faculty members have also founded or directed initiatives like:

During the 24-month program, you’ll work closely with our faculty, benefitting from excellent learning opportunities and skills training. Recently, we’ve added:

  • greater opportunities in community level intensive care units (ICUs)
  • increased exposure to care of cardiac surgery patients
  • more emphasis on simulation-based learning

Outside opportunities

Thanks to a significant amount of available funding, your training will include the opportunity to attend: