Anesthesia Resident Curriculum

A curriculum is the organized teaching efforts of a faculty. We have an extensive didactic program, however, no schedule of didactics can comprehensively cover the increasingly broad field of knowledge in our discipline, and every resident is expected to read comprehensively. This requires self-motivation and discipline. Most resident education is impromptu and based on the problems presented by a particular patient and proposed operation.

While we follow the requirements specified by the accrediting bodies, we have departed from the traditional three year format and now organize the didactic and clinical teaching efforts along the lines of a beginning and then an advanced core curriculum, followed by electives. Each resident's progress and readiness to move to the next phase is evaluated at frequent intervals.

In addition to the usual clinical evaluations, we conduct an oral examination every year for each resident.

Core Curriculum Year 1 and Early Year 2

The core curriculum consists of the basic skills and knowledge that every anesthesiologist must possess, and 
that are prerequisites to his or her further development in the electives curriculum.


Much of this period is spent in the main operating rooms at the UC San Diego Medical Center, Thornton Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. This period consists of:

  • A graded introduction to the general field of anesthesiology, and may be thought of as a tutorial in how to separate the "white noise" in the operating suites from the elegance of thoughtfully and skillfully administered anesthesia
  • Beginning residents are paired with a team of two seasoned clinicians, a faculty member, and a senior resident during the first month
  • There are daily lectures on the basics of anesthetic practice

Rotations during the first part of the core curriculum include:

Advanced Curriculum

Residents are closely supervised in the beginning, and as they gain proficiency, they gain autonomy too. As basic skills are mastered, residents care for increasingly challenging patients. In addition to assignments in the main operating rooms, the following rotations are undertaken during the last part of the core curriculum. These include:

Electives Curriculum Late Year 2 Through Year 3

We appreciate that by this final stage in the continuum of their formal education, resident physicians are among the most sophisticated consumers of schooling that the world has ever seen. They are successful, knowledgeable, and discerning. Considerable latitude in educational methods and direction is appropriate to the last part of the residency, and each resident, in consultation with a faculty member, can design a curriculum unique to his or her individual needs, interests, and talents.

Suggested areas for such development might include (among many others):