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High Yield Anesthesia Electives

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2nd year med student here with clerkship looming. 


1. Any schools where you get a chance to be with one preceptor for full week, or even two? 

2. Any schools known for unofficially favoring those who did electives there? I'd like to stay in Vancouver, but if not, West would generally be preferred. 


I am thinking of doing 8-10 weeks of electives in clerkship in anesthesia, and backing up with FM with the rest. Also now that CaRMS tour is over, any positive/negative perceptions of programs across the country? 



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Hey there Thunderbirds! UBC represent w0000t! Anyway, I'm a uOttawa Anesthesia resident in the first CBD cohort, and I also graduated from UBC, so can probably shed some light for you.


You can work with one preceptor for 2 weeks for Dalhousie elective. If you get lucky, you get along with your preceptor and get a strong reference. If you are unlucky, you are with someone who doesn't click with you, then you practically wasted 2 weeks. For example, I did a two week elective in Dalhousie, and I didn't even get an interview there! Ha ha.


Schools favoring those who do electives, for my year: Manitoba, Ottawa, UBC. Others seems to be alright.


Now it's time for me to put in a plug for Ottawa Anesthesia: It is the absolute best residency program, ever. People love teaching here, and you learn very practical teaching points and feedback everyday. The residency program is what you make of it: There is lots of flexibility. If you want to take an academic half day to study, you can (for off service). If you want more clinical exposure, you are welcome to pursue more. If you feel like you are unexposed for certain cases, it is easy to request them. You get daily feedback that are actually useful because they are meant to improve your performance, rather than to pass judgment on you. There are many frequent 1-on-1 case based learning w/ preceptors. (imagine doing 1-on-1 PBL w/ your preceptor, and doing over 90 cases over the course of a year. It really lets you know what you don't know. There is a wide variety of exposure: thoracic, neuro, cardiac anesthesia, cardiac anesthesia ICU, vascular surgery etc. I think most importantly, Ottawa Anesthesia has a fantastic vibe and culture. People are friendly, laid back, yet care about teaching. Definitely consider it.

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4th year here who just went through the tour:


1. The only two schools I know of who really try to put you with one preceptor for the majority of your two weeks are Dalhousie and McMaster. Both excellent learning experiences, and fantastic opportunity to get to know a staff really well (good for both independence/procedures as well as reference letters).


2. Most schools tend to prioritize those who do electives there to invite to interviews, but definitely not a necessity at most schools. I agree that UBC and Ottawa (and Calgary) are quite selective in their interview invites, so electives definitely help in those places. Others are pretty receptive with a strong application. I also did 10 weeks of anesthesia electives and it was plenty.


For me, I was actually really impressed by the tour and the quality of every program I visited across the country. There are definitely some different vibes of the residents/programs at different places, but I'm confident that going to any program in Canada (at least of those I visited), I would finish as an incredibly competent anesthesiologist. Keep your mind open, because some programs that you know nothing about might really surprise you!

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