McMaster University

McMaster University

Photo #1: Anesthesia residents working in the operating room Photo #2: Anesthesia residents working in the operating room - photo #2 Photo #3: Residents at the McMaster-Western University Research Exchange Day Photo #4: Residents at the McMaster-Western University Research Exchange Day Photo #5: Residents at the McMaster-Western University Research Exchange Day

Anesthesia Postgraduate Program

  • Program
  • Academic
  • Scholarly
  • Simulator
  • Anesthesia
  • Training
  • Program
  • Resident
  • CBD

Program Description

The McMaster University Residency in Anesthesia is a five-year training program, accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Clinical teaching occurs in four acute care hospitals in Hamilton, Ontario. As of February 2013, there are 39 residents enrolled in our Program.

The McMaster Department of Anesthesia is made up of approximately 80 faculty members. A number of the clinical anesthesia faculty have completed fellowships in Pain Management, Critical Care, Cardiac Anesthesia, Thoracic Anesthesia, Neuro-Anesthesia, Trauma, Obstetrical Anesthesia, Simulation, and Pediatric Anesthesia. There is a part-time research methodologist affiliated with the Department, who is available to assist with designing resident research projects. One of the Department’s faculty members is an MD/PhD (Psychology) with expertise in human factors relating to medical error and patient safety and is the Director of the Clinical Learning Centre (which houses the High Fidelity Simulation Lab).

A full complement of administrative staff supports the McMaster Anesthesia Residency Program, including an experienced full-time Residency Program Administrative Assistant (Candice Stroud) and a full-time Research Coordinator (Toni Tidy).


The PGY1 year is part of the McMaster Basic Clinical Training program. The BCT program includes 13 four-week “blocks”. Mandatory rotations include four blocks of anesthesia, two blocks of internal medicine, one block of obstetrics and gynecology, one blocks of pediatrics, one block of emergency medicine, one block of general surgery, and one block of thoracic surgery. A one-block elective period also exists and residents may choose one of the following rotations: emergency medicine, general psychiatry, diagnostic radiology, palliative care, ICU in St. Catharine’s, or ENT. PGY1 anesthesia residents complete mandatory rotations in anesthesia in July/August and May/June. The anesthesia rotations in July/August allow PGY1 residents to participate in the Program’s introductory academic teaching sessions.


The PGY2 year is spent rotating through all four teaching hospital sites. Residents gain experience in the basics of anesthesia in the operating room and the obstetrical units. Pediatric anesthesia experience is obtained at McMaster University Medical Centre. Residents also take part in the pre-assessment clinics and the acute pain services affiliated with each hospital site.


The PGY3 year includes adult and pediatric critical care, as well as rotations in subspecialty internal medicine. Residents participate in four blocks of adult critical care, two blocks of pediatric/neonatal critical care, two blocks of cardiology/CCU, and two blocks of respirology. Residents may choose from nephrology, hematology, infectious diseases, and endocrinology for three blocks of electives in internal medicine subspecialty rotations (residents may choose to complete an additional block in ICU as one of the three elective blocks). Electives in research may also be requested.


This PGY4 year comprises of rotations in subspecialty anesthesia, including cardiac anesthesia, neurosurgical anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, high-risk obstetrical anesthesia, regional anesthesia, chronic pain management, and thoracic anesthesia. Two blocks in community-based anesthesia practice are available for the program’s mandatory rotations in Community Anesthesia (these rotations may be deferred to PGY5).


The final year of training is a general clinical year that allows for individual areas of interest to be pursued. Opportunities for further experience in subspecialty anesthesia, research, or other scholarly activity (such as further study within the Clinical Investigator’s Program) are readily available. An intensive program of preparation for the Royal College written and oral examinations takes place during this final year.

Academic Sessions

Residents at McMaster are involved in weekly academic sessions. Tutorials are facilitated by faculty members, involving subject material targeted to the resident’s level of training. The PGY2 sessions cover the basics of clinical and theoretical anesthesia, physiology, and pharmacology, as well as the instruction of the intrinsic CanMEDS roles. The PGY3 curriculum primarily incorporates critical care and internal medicine topics, as they relate to anesthesia. The PGY4 series focuses on topics in subspecialty anesthesia, medicine, and surgery and is geared toward preparation for the Royal College written examination. The PGY5 curriculum targets the material required for the Royal College written and oral examinations.

Exam Preparation

The core curriculum in PGY2, PGY3, and PGY4 provides academic preparation for the Royal College written exams. Formal program-organized practice orals are held twice yearly for PGY2, PGY3, PGY4 and PGY5 anesthesia residents. In the PGY5 year, oral exam preparation is formally provided on a weekly basis by two faculty members, Drs. K. Raymer and Dr. S. Sharma. The PGY5 residents also organize informal practice oral exams with different McMaster Anesthesia faculty throughout the year and are fully funded to participate in the annual “Making a Mark” program.

Scholarly Activities

In order to complete the training program, residents are required to complete a scholarly project. This requirement can be a quality assurance project (chart review), systematic review, meta-analysis, questionnaire study or clinical trial (see the Minimum Requirements for Research for further details). Protected time can be made available for research activity (see the Resident Research Electives and the Research Elective Application Form for further details). This project affords residents the opportunity to grow in their academic ability and allows them to fulfill the Royal College Anesthesiology Objectives of Training and CanMEDS competencies requirements.

Resident Research

The Department of Anesthesia is able to provide support and assist residents with their projects. Available to provide assistance is full-time research coordinator, Toni Tidy, associate professor/research methodologist and biostatistician, Dr. Lehana Thabane, and research associate in biostatistics, Emmy Cheng.

Funding may be made available to residents for graduate degree studies in any field through the Department of Anesthesia.

To apply for a research elective complete and Anesthesia Resident Research Elective Form and submit it. It will be evaluated by the Residency Training Committee and it needs to be approved prior to booking your elective block. The Residency Program Director will notify you about the outcome of your application. To apply for a research elective you should have a well defined research question, a research mentor (a staff faculty member) learning objectives for the elective and it is best to have REB approval prior to doing the elective. This way, you can make best use of the time and actually collect data (if applicable) during your elective. Please submit your form well in advance of your planned elective to ensure enough time for it to be reviewed.

Library Facilities

Computer access and Wi-Fi is available at all clinical sites and residents are registered with Lib access, which provides a comprehensive list of online medical journals and resources. Textbooks are kept in specific Department libraries at McMaster and St. Joseph’s Healthcare and these are accessible at all hours. The Health Sciences Library is on-site at McMaster University Medical Centre. Hospital libraries are located at the Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare. All are accessible to the residents.

Simulator Training

The Simulation Program at McMaster University affords opportunity for both teaching and learning in the high-fidelity Simulation Center. Residents teach medical students during the Anesthesia Clerkship rotations using the resources in the Simulation Center. Residents also participate regularly as learners in the Simulation Center, as a complement to their clinical learning and to forward the development of non-technical skills. Simulation scenarios are run by faculty for anesthesia residents on a bi-monthly basis.

Anesthesia Residents

Welcome to the resident webpage site! In July of every year, McMaster Anesthesia Residency Program welcomes the addition of new residents to the PGY-1 cohort. As of July 2013, we have 39 active residents in our program. A unique aspect of our residency program is the collegiality amongst the residents. Historically, the McMaster anesthesia residents form a tight-knit group, and we share good times with each other both in and outside of academic settings. We also demonstrate collegiality with residents from other Canadian programs, as evident by our residents’ annual involvement in the CAS conference and the McMaster-Western Resident Research Exchange Day. We are also actively involved in global health development, with two residents being selected every year for an international elective at Uganda.

Our training program has always maintained a strong reputation, as we constantly strive for improvement and renovations. The regional anesthesia block that was implemented few years ago has received great resident feedbacks and has since been identified as a strength in our annual internal reviews. The simulation program is undergoing new changes to its curriculum with increased resident involvement and participation. Our residency program is always striving toward excellence, and the resident group is an integral part of this process.

The resident webpage site is designed with the intention of providing a commonplace for sharing academic resources, program information and links that are relevant to anesthesia residents at all levels of their training. Contents of the site will be continually updated with relevant articles, practice guidelines, notices to upcoming academic events. Specific information pertaining to the residency program such as schedules, academic core teaching programs and archived presentations and reference material can be accessed at the password-protected link to MedPortal. Contents of the MedPortal site are meant to be available for McMaster anesthesia residents only.


American Society of Anesthesiologists Guidelines

American Society of Regional Anesthesia Guidelines

Ambulatory Anesthesiology Guidelines

Training Sites

The McMaster University Anesthesia Residency Program comprises of four clinical teaching units. These units are located at:

St. Joseph’s Healthcare is the regional centre for respiratory, renal, and head and neck disease and houses a busy obstetrical unit (an average of 3,000 deliveries per year).

The Hamilton Health Sciences’ General campus is the regional centre for the cardiac and vascular, neurosurgical and neuroscience, spine, burn, and trauma programs.

The Hamilton Health Sciences’ Juravinski campus is a regional center for the arthroplasty, hepato-biliary, colorectal, and oncology programs and is affiliated with the regional cancer care centre.

The McMaster campus of Hamilton Health Sciences contains the regional high-risk obstetrical unit, an extensive adult ambulatory surgery program, and rapidly growing pediatric and neonatal programs.

These clinical resources offer the anesthesia resident unlimited opportunities to obtain the fundamentals of anesthesia, as well as explore areas of subspecialty interest and scholarly activity in both education and research.


  • Dr. A. Daulphin, an anesthesiologist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and McMaster faculty member, has provided extensive work and teaching in Haiti over the past two decades. Anesthesia residents from Haiti periodically perform rotations in Anesthesia in Hamilton.
  • Dr. S. Ttendo, an anesthesiologist in Kampala, Uganda, holds a faculty position with the McMaster Department of Anesthesia. Dr. Ttendo supervises a two-week elective in Uganda for one McMaster anesthesia resident each year. The Uganda elective is funded by the Department of Anesthesia at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

Program Events

Reach for the Top

First started in 1986, this annual (end of the academic year) trivia contest pits a resident team against a staff team, with a dinner and awards following the competition.

Resident Research Exchange Day

This event is held each year with the University of Western Ontario Anesthesia Residency Program, with the site alternating between the two campuses. Research and academic projects are presented and judged. A dinner and friendly trivia competition follows the presentations.

Resident Retreats

Resident retreats are held four times per year. Residents participate in comprehensive program evaluations, team-building events and/or social activities. A formal Resident Retreat on Education was organized in 2012 by the Program Director and RTC resident representatives for purposes of evaluating the program as a whole.

Program Director’s Annual Barbeque

This informal, backyard meal is held at a faculty member’s home each summer for the Department residents and faculty. Spouses, children and significant others are invited and welcomed.

Dr. Karen Raymer
Anesthesia Residency Program Director
Department of Anesthesia
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
1280 Main St. W. HSC 2V6
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8S 4K1

All inquires to be made to:

Ms. Candice Stroud
Program Assistant
Department of Anesthesia
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
1280 Main St. W. HSC 2V2
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada L8S 4K1
Tel: 905-521-2100, ext. 75170
Fax: 905-523-1224

Anesthesia Faculty & Resident Manual

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