Overview of Clinical Years

Clinical Base Year

The Anesthesia Clinical Base Year (PGY-1) is divided into 13 four-week rotations and is arranged to give broad training in various specialties. Residents rotate through critical care medicine, neurology, pediatrics, surgery, emergency care, internal medicine, obstetrics, and anesthesia. Residents are enrolled in the Stanford Start, a year-long monthly online curriculum designed to help prepare interns for a successful transition to anesthesia residency training. There are four weeks of vacation and, at least, one week off between the end of internship and anesthesia orientation. 

CA-1 Year Overview

In the first year (CA-1 clinical anesthesia) residents are immediately introduced to the operating room under the instruction of an experienced anesthesiologist who assists the trainee in becoming acclimated to the new environment. This close monitoring and assignment of mentors extends for three months and provides continuity and maximizes understanding. Residents have no call responsibilities during the three months of this one-to-one preceptorship. In addition, residents have extensive daily didactic sessions with an emphasis on the fundamentals of anesthesia. Simulation training is provided during this period with emphasis on airway management workshops. Simulation is integrated throughout the Cooper Anesthesiology residency curriculum with an emphasis on the acquisition and refinement of both medical/technical skill and behavioral/leadership skills. Residents are enrolled in Learnly | Foundations a year-long daily learning online course that uses short directed readings and over 3,000 expertly-written questions to prepare learners for competency in the anesthesiology basic sciences.

Residents are scheduled for a two-week study block in preparation for the Basic Examination which is taken at the beginning of the CA-2 year.


As the resident gains expertise in the operating room they are introduced to other arenas where the anesthesiologist is vital. Clinical exposures in the CA-1 year are variable and may differ from those listed below:

  • 26 weeks General Operating Room
  • 4 weeks Critical Care
  •  2 weeks Preoperative Services
  •  2 weeks Perioperative Anesthesia
  •  4 weeks Pain Management
  •  4 weeks Obstetrical Anesthesia
  •  4 weeks Regional Anesthesia
  • 4 weeks Postoperative Anesthesia Care
  • 2 weeks Basic Exam Study Sessions

CA-2 Year Overview

During the CA-2 year, the resident will spend most of their time in subspecialty anesthesia training. This includes experiences in pediatric anesthesia, neuroanesthesia, cardiac, thoracic, critical care, regional, and obstetric anesthesia. Residents also learn acute and chronic pain management under the direction of our pain service. Residents also rotate through our ambulatory surgery center to give them exposure to the principles and techniques of anesthesia for patients undergoing common outpatient surgical procedures. Educational sessions continue in the form of Tuesday Grand Rounds, specialty rotation lectures, key words, journal club, problem-based learning and mock oral review. For those interested in pursuing fellowship training, the fall/winter of CA-2 year is the time when many residents prepare their applications for fellowship training programs.


  • 12 weeks Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
  • 8 weeks Pediatric Anesthesia at CHOP
  • 4 weeks Critical Care
  • 4 weeks Pain Management
  • 4 weeks Obstetric Anesthesia
  • 4 weeks Neuroanesthesia
  • 4 weeks Ambulatory Anesthesia
  • 4 weeks Pediatric Anesthesia Cooper University Hospital
  • 6 sessions Simulation Education
  • 2 weeks Perioperative
  • 2 weeks Operating Room
  • 4 weeks Vascular Anesthesia

CA-3 Year Overview

The CA-3 year rotations are specifically designed to refine the resident's skills while preparing them for a fellowship or clinical practice while increasing autonomy. CA-3 residents are urged to gain additional expertise in a specific area such as regional anesthesia, critical care, transesophageal echocardiography, and/or research interests.

The resident will complete their required concentrated exposure to anesthesia subspecialties, (e.g. pain management, neurosurgical, pediatric anesthesia (CHOP) and general operating room) with the consolidation of anesthetic experiences. The CA-3 resident will become self-sufficient in the operating room, be assigned to care for patients undergoing the most complex procedures, and will also develop presentation skills by contributing to the didactic activities of the department.

Residents can select various options and can choose either the Advanced Clinical Track or the Clinical Scientist Track. Regardless of the track selected, the third year resident will continue to complete a scholarly started as a CA-1 or CA-2 project prior to graduation.

  • Advanced Clinical Track: Senior residents selecting this track are called upon to exercise independent judgment, act responsibility while caring for their patients, and serve as role models to CA-1 and CA-2. A minimum of six months must be spent in advanced clinical training while the remaining months can be spent concentrating on two to three of the subspecialties.
  • Clinical Scientist Track: Senior residents who select this track to combine advanced clinical training with research experience under the supervision of a faculty member. Residents who are interested in pursuing the Clinical Scientist Track must indicate their interest in this option in their second year of training and provide the Program Director with a written plan outlining their research plan.