Overview of Clinical Years

Clinical Base Year (PGY-1)

The Anesthesia Clinical Base Year (PGY-1) is a mixture of internal medicine and subspecialty rotations and is arranged to give broad training and optimal preparation for becoming a comprehensive anesthesiologist. Residents rotate through critical care medicine, radiology, interventional pulmonology, thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pain 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.

  • 1 month of Anesthesia
  • 1 month of Radiology
  • 3 months of Medicine
  • 2 weeks of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
  • 2 weeks Pain Management
  • 1 month Interventional Pulmonology
  • 2 months of Critical Care
  • 1 month of Night Float
  • 1 month of EM
  • 1 month of Thoracic Surgery

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 and senior resident 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 end of their CA-1 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 due to the wide variety of cases in the operating rooms:

  • 26 weeks in the OR (12 weeks 1:1)
  • 2 weeks PACU
  • 2 weeks Pre-op
  • 4 weeks Neuro
  • 4 weeks Pain
  • 4 weeks OB
  • 4 weeks ICU
  • 4 weeks Regional
  • 2 weeks Independent Study (Basic Exam)

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, NORA (non-operating room anesthesia), and obstetric anesthesia. Residents also learn acute and chronic pain management under the direction of our pain service. Residents will 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, SIM sessions, 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.


  • 4 weeks Neuro
  • 4 weeks Thoracic
  • 4 weeks Vascular
  • 4 weeks Ambulatory Surgery
  • 4 weeks Peds
  • 4 weeks Pain
  • 4 weeks ICU
  • 4 weeks OB
  • 4 weeks NORA
  • 8 weeks Cardiac
  • 8 weeks CHOP

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. regional, 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.

  • 16 weeks OR (12 weeks paired up with CA-1s)
  • 4 weeks Neuro
  • 4 weeks Regional
  • 4 weeks CHOP
  • 8 weeks Independent Study (Advanced Exam)
  • 4 months Elective
    • TEE
    • Board Runner
    • Difficult Airway
    • Regional
    • Cardiac ICU
    • OB
    • Advanced NORA