Before beginning clinical anesthesia training (CA1), residents will go through an extensive “boot camp” program. During weekday mornings, they will be paired with a senior resident or senior CRNA to learn about the basics of anesthetic care, ventilator management and procedural techniques. In the afternoon, the residents will attend our didactic program. In the first three weeks, there are presentations by senior residents on topics such as room setup, airway techniques, flow of the operating room and general anesthetic troubleshooting. In the following three weeks, members of the faculty will provide lecture presentations on basics of clinical anesthesia including airway anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, basics preoperative, intra-operative and post-anesthetic care and many more.
Scheduled Resident Lecture Series
There are three resident didactic series that run parallel throughout the year. A basic anesthesia level lecture series for CA1 residents, an advanced level lecture series for CA2 residents, and a consultant level lecture series for the CA3 residents. Topics are commensurate with the targeted level of training. This is a protected time from their clinical duties. Each class of residents has 1 protected academic day per month (Thursdays) where they would attend lectures in the morning and go to simulation sessions in the afternoon. These lecture series are prepared by faculty to help residents learn about clinical anesthesia, prepare for annual in-training exam, ABA basic exam, and ABA advanced exam.
Daily operating room teaching is based on ABA keywords. Keywords are designated for each day on all general and subspecialty anesthesia rotations. Keywords are posted at convenient locations in the operating rooms and discussion can be initiated between residents and faculty. This is to help with preparation for ABA exams and in-training exams.
Point Of Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
Our residency program has a longitudinal curriculum for Point Of Care Ultrasound (POCUS). POCUS training starts during the PGY1 year (internship) and progresses to the PGY4 (CA3) level. We have a dedicated team of POCUS anesthesiology faculty who train the residents in POCUS. The curriculum is highly structured and includes hands-on sessions on standardized patients and targeted didactic lectures. These hands-on sessions typically occur in our state-of-the-art Simulation center. Our trainees get protected time for learning POCUS. Trainees are assessed formally for competency in POCUS and are given timely feedback after each session. The best part of POCUS training at VCU is the early opportunity to use the POCUS skills in actual patients. This occurs during the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where our interns and residents routinely utilize POCUS to treat peri-operative patients. Residents are expected to complete a set number of examinations and review them with POCUS faculty daily during the PACU rotation. This training is further enhanced by the routine use of ultrasound in the ICU, on the regional anesthesia service, and during the CA3 level TEE (Trans-esophageal Echo) rotation. Our POCUS curriculum is well-developed and is designed to prepare our trainees to become competent in all aspects of POCUS, be it diagnostic or interventional. The curriculum is also geared towards achieving certification in POCUS upon graduation.
Anesthesiology Grand Rounds occur every Thursday morning. Topics vary weekly including prominent guest speakers and faculty from other departments from the institution. We have monthly quality improvement, M&M review of cases which we focus on the improvement of quality of anesthesia care in the department and health system. CA2 residents will present current controversial topics in a paired debate format. This ‘pro-con’ approach allows the residents to present evidence in a manner that stimulates spirited discussion amongst the entire department. CA3 residents deliver one formal evidence based grand round discussion on a topic of their choice.
The cardiac anesthesia division holds journal club sessions twice a month on Wednesday mornings. The regional anesthesia division also holds informal journal club presentation monthly in an informal setting (dinner) with the assistance of faculty and fellows. All are welcome to attend.
Mock Oral Board Exams
Mock oral exams are provided by faculty members twice a year for all residents of all classes to help with the preparation of ABA applied practice exams.
Practice OSCE session is provided by faculty at the state of art simulation center which is offered to CA3 residents before graduation to help prepare with the OSCE part of ABA advanced exams.
Residents will have access to TrueLearn questions (paid for by the program) in aid of studying the foundations of clinical anesthesia as well as preparation for the in-training exam, ABA basic exam and ABA advanced exams. There are 5 scheduled online quizzes administered from the question bank throughout the year to allow residents to assess their performance of knowledge base and guide their studying plans.