Undergraduate Program

Introduction to Anesthesia
Core Rotation -Year 3


Anesthesia is a specialty involving many disciplines. In the course of the anesthetic rotation, you have a unique opportunity to refresh your knowledge of some and make the acquaintance of others.

Much of anesthesia is applied to acute pharmacology; this provides you with an opportunity to see and administer medications you have read about or seen used in animal experiments only. Many of these drugs have important applications in emergency medicine, but you have few opportunities to observe their employment outside the operating room. The chance to gain familiarity with such potent and useful agents should not be dismissed lightly.

Anesthesia and surgery involve physiological and anatomical trespass and you have an excellent opportunity to review your knowledge of these two fundamental disciplines by observing the effects of this trespass.

The special techniques of anesthesia and surgery are new and unfamiliar to you, but many of them have important applications in general practice, often in the field of emergency medicine. During the rotation, there will be opportunities to learn practical skills such as insertion of intravenous catheters, endotracheal intubation, placement of laryngeal mask airway, and lumbar puncture for spinal anesthesia.

It must be appreciated, however, that there is an important difference between the operating room and the ward, especially in the acute nature of the events in the operating room. General anesthesia is a dynamic process and its safety lies in the vigilance of the anesthesiologist. Under some circumstances teaching may be precluded, however, and such situations should be fairly obvious.



  • To integrate basic science and clinical practice
  • To understand the physiological & pharmacological principles of anesthesia
  • To teach perioperative anesthetic patient care
  • To develop clinical competence, esp. airway management
  • To foster co-operative interdisciplinary patient care
  • To format Anesthesia as a possible career choice


  • Pre-operative evaluation and preparation, ASA classification
  • The anesthetic machine; monitoring techniques
  • Pharmacology of drugs used in anesthetic practice
  • Anesthetic techniques: general – IV/inhalation, regional, IV sedation
  • Local anesthetics: pharmacology and application
  • Airway management and ventilatory care
  • Fluid and blood component therapy
  • Care of the unconscious patient
  • Obstetrical analgesia and anesthesia
  • Post-operative care
  • Pain management


  • Establishment and maintenance of the airway
  • Mask and bag ventilation; endotracheal intubation and extubation
  • Spontaneous, manual and controlled ventilation
  • Diagnosis and management of breathing difficulties
  • Venous cannulation
  • Lumbar puncture for spinal anesthesia


  • The students are provided the opportunity to apply basic sciences directly to clinical practice. The hope is that this would stimulate a fascination for applied physiology and pharmacology while providing anesthesia (amnesia, analgesia, and muscle relaxation) during surgery (surgical insult and physiological stress).
  • The student should learn to respect the dignity of the unconscious patient undergoing or recovering from anesthesia.

Study Guide

3rd Year Course Objectives & Study Guide


Site Coordinator (BC Women’s Hospital)

Dr. Michael Wong  michael.wong@cw.bc.ca