McMaster University

McMaster University

Anesthesia Undergraduate Program

Program Description

During your two week rotation, you will be exposed to many concepts of anesthetic practice in a combination of small group sessions, problem-based learning, part-task and full-body simulators and clinical environments. Due to the nature of the Anesthesia rotation, it is very difficult for us to accommodate requests to change any of the dates or clinical locations of your rotation.

The rotation is designed to combine experiential learning in both the simulated and clinical setting. There is an average of 9-20 clerks (a higher number would be comprised of Niagara and Waterloo clerks) per rotation and a total of 16 rotations throughout the year.


General Objective

The Department of Anesthesia at McMaster University, along with other Canadian academic departments of anesthesia, has the responsibility of providing leadership in the discipline of anesthesia.

This is achieved through the conduct of fundamental and applied research; and through a commitment to the highest level of teaching students, colleagues and the public. Integral to these goals is the organization and provision of safe and effective clinical services in anesthesia by competent caring physicians.

Specific Objectives

  • To acquire an appreciation of the multifaceted discipline of Anesthesia
  • To acquire an understanding of the clinical application of physiology and pharmacology to patients of all ages
  • To acquire the basic practical skills of airway and circulatory management.


Students will gain experience in the anesthetic assessment, reparation and optimisation of patients in the perioperative period. Students will also learn about the systemic effects or anesthetic drugs as well as airway, fluid and pain management in the perioperative period. There may also be opportunities to be exposed to obstetrical and pediatric anesthesia and chronic pain management.

Clinical skills include the basic principles of airway and intravenous fluid management as well as preoperative clinical assessment of patients of all ages. This elective will provide a broad perspective on the scope of practice of a career in Anesthesia.

New e-book!

“Understanding Anesthesia: A Learner’s Guide” is an interactive electronic textbook, developed by Dr. Karen Raymer and Dr. Rick Kolesar from the McMaster University Department of Anesthesia, along with Eric Brown (McMaster medical student).

It is meant to be used for the anesthesia clerkship program as well as for medical students during anesthesia electives. It is available free of charge at the Understanding Anesthesia website.

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