Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 147–152 | Cite as

The role of anesthesiologists in Canadian undergraduate medical education

  • Richard Brull
  • John W. Bradley
General Anesthesia


Purpose: To examine the current role of anesthesiologists in Canadian undergraduate medical education (UME).

Methods: A 93-item questionnaire was mailed to the undergraduate course chairs/coordinators for anesthesia at the 16 medical schools in Canada.

Results: Of the faculty anesthesiologists in Canada, 1.7%, 4.9%, and 4.9% teach pre-clerkship lectures, seminars, and PBL tutorials, respectively. Annually, anesthesiologists teach an average of 3.3 hr (range: 0 to 15) of preclerkship lectures and 12.8 hr (range: 0 to 48) of pre-clerkship seminars at each medical school. The topics most commonly taught by anesthesiologists in pre-clerkship lectures and seminars are pharmacology and perioperative patient assessment, respectively. An anesthesia rotation during clerkship is mandatory at 13 schools, with an average duration of 9.6 dy (range: 5 – 20 dy). Clerkship teaching methods vary: ten schools provide seminars, eight use videos, six use computers, six use an airway skills laboratory, and four use an anesthesia simulator. The most common topics taught in clerkship anesthesia seminars are airway management and fluid therapy.

Conclusion: A very small proportion of faculty anesthesiologists participate in Canadian UME at the pre-clerkship level. Considerable variation exists in the amount and format of teaching by anesthesiologists among the Canadian undergraduate curricula, particularly at the pre-clerkship level. However, our results indicate that anesthesiologists are assuming a more important teaching role during clerkship. Our findings may suggest that Canadian medical schools are overlooking the advantages that anesthesiologists offer to UME at the pre-clerkship level, or that many anesthesiologists are reluctant to assume pre-clerkship teaching responsibilities.


Undergraduate Medical Education Anesthesia Resident Undergraduate Medical Curriculum Canadian Medical School Anesthesia Simulator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Objectif: Examiner le rôle actuel des anesthésiologistes dans la formation canadienne des étudiants en médecine (FEM).

Méthode: Un questionnaire comportant 93 éléments a été posté aux directeurs/coordonnateurs des programmes d’anesthésie des seize écoles de médecine du Canada.

Résultats: Parmi les anesthésiologistes des corps d’enseignement du Canada, 1,7 %, 4,9 % et 4,9 % offrent des cours d’avant-stage, des séminaires et le tutorat du programme d’apprentissage par problème (APP), respectivement. Annuellement, les anesthésiologistes enseignent en moyenne 3,3 h (intervalle: 0 à 15) sous forme de cours d’avant-stage et 12,8 h (intervalle: 0 à 48) de séminaires d’avant-stage à chaque école de médecine. Les sujets abordés le plus souvent pendant les cours et les séminaires sont respectivement la pharmacologie et l’évaluation périopératoire du patient. Une rotation en anesthésie est obligatoire pour les stagiaires de treize écoles et dure en moyenne 9,6 jrs (intervalle: 5 – 20 jrs). Les méthodes d’enseignement varient: dix écoles offrent des séminaires, huit utilisent la vidéo, six font usage d’ordinateurs, six présentent un laboratoire de compétence en intubation et quatre utilisent un simulateur d’anesthésie. Pendant les séminaires sur l’anesthésie, le stagiaire entend surtout parler de la ligne de conduite à adopter pendant l’intubation et l’hydratation intraveineuse.

Conclusion: On note un faible taux de participation des professeurs anesthésiologistes à la FEM canadienne pré-stagiaire. La quantité et la forme de l’enseignement prodigué par les anesthésiologistes auprès des étudiants en médecine du Canada varient beaucoup, particulièrement au niveau pré-stagiaire. Cependant, nos résultats indiquent que les anesthésiologistes enseignent davantage pendant les stages. Nos observations peuvent laisser croire que les écoles de médecine canadiennes méconnaissent les avantages offerts par les anesthésiologistes à la FEM avant les stages ou que de nombreux anesthésiologistes sont réticents à assumer des responsabilités de professeur dans ce même cadre.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.From the Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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