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Curriculum & Academics

The core academic program is heavily based in active learning techniques such as problem-based learning and simulation with didactic sessions used to ensure completeness.  The clinical training program follows the standards and guidelines as outlined by the Royal College.  The rotations include all subspecialties in anesthesia including thoracic surgery, cardiovascular surgery with experience in transesophageal echocardiography, neurosurgery, acute and chronic pain, pediatric anesthesia, regional anesthesia and a community anesthesia experience.  The required rotations in internal medicine include cardiology, respirology, general medicine blocks, as well as adult intensive care.  We strive to have specific, frequent feedback through daily assessments that are objective specific, written block evaluations and frequent face-to-face feedback sessions.  Written, oral and simulation-based assessments will help guide our residents to success.

The small size of the program allows for a close relationship between the faculty and the residents.  This has been frequently identified as one of the great strengths of our program and enables a rapid progression to independent activities for individual residents.  While the majority of the training takes place in Sudbury, there are multiple options available for ongoing training for a variety of rotations in the following communities:  Thunder Bay, Timmins, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Huntsville and Toronto.

Anesthesia Competency Based Medical Education

To contribute to the success of Canadian physicians and the delivery of high-quality patient care, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has embarked upon an initiative to introduce competency-based medical education (CBME) in Canadian postgraduate specialty training and in professional practice in Canada. This initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD), aims to enhance patient care by aligning medical education and lifelong learning with evolving patient needs and empowering learners to more fully engage in their education process.

As of 2017, residents entering an anesthesiology program will experience Competence by Design (CBD)-based learning and assessment. Incoming cohorts of successfully matched applicants to NOSMU’s Anesthesiology program will be entering into a CBD-based residency program and can expect this transition to be reflected in their training.

It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs will be broken down into stages, and each stage will have a series of milestones based on required competencies. These milestones will create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need.

In 2013 NOSMU became the first anesthesiology program in Canada to implement components of a competency-based curriculum, and this curriculum has already been woven into the fabric of NOSMU’s FRCP Anesthesiology program. Key components of this transition that have been effectively implemented include; competency-based assessment, high volume work-place-based assessment with frequent, authentic feedback, competency-based promotion, and individualized learning plans – which will all continue to evolve with the full transition.

For more information on applying competency-based practices to residency education, please visit the CaRMS website.

NOSMU Anesthesiology eLearning Platform (eLP)

Critical to moving toward an effective, competency-based, distributed education program that keeps residents informed on their progress and connected to the program was the creation of the eLearning Platform.  There are multiple aspects to this personalized webspace that includes schedules, resources, access to policies, databases, and evaluations.  But it is much more than that…

The active learning PBL based “declarative knowledge” curriculum allows residents can discuss cases and work collaboratively to the answers.  It doesn’t matter what rotation the residents are on…they will always have access to the academic program!


Simulation plays a major role in the active learning curriculum of the NOSM U anesthesiology residency program. Our simulation program incorporates high-fidelity simulation with mannequins, hybrid patients, and standardized patients. Our simulation lab was a previously functioning operating room that has been renovated into 3 simulated operating rooms and small classrooms, one large conference room, and a large skills lab. We now have a new state-of-the-art simulation center which opened in the fall of 2021!

Residents participate in approximately three full days of simulation per academic year. This amounts to about 12 simulation scenarios being run per year! In each simulation session, residents have the opportunity to be the leader, helper, or observer in a safe learning environment. Each simulation scenario is followed by a rich student-led debriefing session. The debriefing sessions focus on anesthesia non-technical skills such as teamwork, task management, situational awareness, and decision-making.

In addition to core simulation sessions, as residents reach PGY-3, they will participate in teaching at the NOSM U Family Practice Anesthesia Bootcamp (ABC), an annual week-long intense high-fidelity simulation course for Family-Practice Anesthesiologists (FPAs). ABC develops our residents as teachers as they progress from teaching-focused lectures and leading workshops to debriefing simulation sessions.


Built into the core program is a comprehensive physician scholar program.  This includes an introductory research course as well as core seminars on critical appraisal and research methods. In addition, residents are expected to undertake a scholarly project with guidance and help from staff.  These can be a clinical or basic sciences research project, a quality improvement project, a research project, or any other scholarly project in areas relevant to academic anesthesiology.  In addition, there are regular Journal Clubs throughout the year. A yearly program retreat is planned where residents will be expected to present at least once during their residency. Residents are encouraged to present their findings at national conferences such as the Canadian Anesthesia Society Meeting.