Our curriculum is highly structured. It is carefully designed to optimize skills development since anesthesiology is difficult to master and inherently dangerous. Learning theory is applied to determine how we teach because the progression of when you do things is just as important as how you do them. That which is most important is done most often, and that which is particularly difficult is approached from many angles to assure mastery.

Virtual Tour

Depending on your rotation, you may train at facilities across our system. Explore below a few of the spaces where residents of this program spend a lot of their time.


Study Guide

Each of our rotations has a Study Guide to be completed that we call Things to Remember comprised of several pages of short answer questions designed by our faculty. This Study Guide is reviewed in the middle of the rotation to guarantee that everything that should be learned from that rotation is indeed covered in depth. Dozens of faculty members ensure this is accomplished for each rotation. Introductory rotations emphasize pharmacology, physiology and anatomy while our advanced rotations focus more on case planning and management. There is very little written in books about how to actually do a case, so we discuss the specifics, planning and performance of cases in depth-each and every day.

Anesthesiology Residency Rotation at Wake Forest School of Medicine

Our lecture series is similarly structured and logical in its delivery. The academic year produces its own seasons that are clearly evident in teaching centers. Each quarter we move from introductory general topics to primary subspecialties, advanced operative specialties, and ultimately the perioperative disciplines. All of our sections get 2-4 week blocks of time in one of these quarters and teach their specialty specific curriculum in a two or three year cycle. As with the Study Guides, this formal construct makes sure that everything is covered at the proper time of the academic year so it has the most impact on every class in the residency.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical Base Year (Program Year 1)

All of our residents begin with an integrated categorical intern year that is specifically designed to optimize preparation for anesthesiology. Every intern has several months of internal medicine, pulmonary and arrhythmia consultation, two months of critical care, chronic pain, emergency medicine, ENT, vascular surgery and electives in the blood bank and anesthesiology.  The anesthesiology rotation is in the last quarter to get everyone ready for July 1st of their residency training. The Associate Program Director is the faculty advisor throughout the internship and she then hand picks a faculty advisor for the remainder of the residency based on common interests or goals.

1st Year of Anesthesiology Training (Program Year 2/CA-1)

The residency begins with operating room rotations for all residents. This is the dominant experience of the first semester for everyone to quickly get comfortable in the operating room. The major focus for the CA-1 year is basic anesthesia procedures and techniques. We also offer early exposure to many of our dozen subspecialties to ensure that decisions about fellowships can be made with confidence. In the second semester of the first training year, a CA-1 resident can take part in nearly every case and find themselves in any rotation from Cardiothoracic to Obstetric to Vascular and Neuroanesthesia

2nd Year of Anesthesiology Training (Program Year 3/CA-2)

Perhaps our most exciting year, each month in the CA-2/PGY-3 year is a different subspecialty. By the midpoint of residency, everyone has rotated at least once through Peds, Regional, CT, CT-ICU, OB and Neuro. The second half of CA-2/PGY-3 includes more advanced rotations through many of these subs, preparing all residents for fellowship training or private practice, a decision determined predominantly by personal preference.

3rd Year of Anesthesiology Training (Program Year 4/CA-3)

The final year of training is mostly filled with elective and advanced rotations. All residents spend a month on “Out of OR” Safari and additional time in any of the above subspecialty areas, customizing their CA-3/PGY-4 year to fit their desired career path. Most residents double their exposure to Regional Anesthesia on their way to 200 nerve blocks. Each senior does a final month of Pediatric, Obstetric and Cardiothoracic Anesthesia.

25 Elective Rotations to Choose From Include:


The Department of Anesthesiology maintains a structured and extensive conference schedule.

Seasons of Academia

 The quarters of the academic year are divided into General topics, Primary Subspecialties, Advanced Operative Subspecialties, and Perioperative Subspecialties in the spring: 

  • General Topics: Junior resident introduction, Coexisting Disease, Machines and Monitors and General topics
  • Primary Subspecialties: Pediatric Anesthesia, Obstetrical Anesthesia, Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain
  • Advanced Operative Subspecialties: Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Anesthesia for Major Vascular Procedures, Neuroanesthesia, Ambulatory Anesthesia, and Safari
  • Perioperative Subspecialties: Preoperative Assessment, Postanesthesia Care Unit, Chronic Pain and Critical Care (Cardiothoracic and Pediatric), and Practice Management

Weekly Lecture Series

  • Monday Conferences are faculty-led lectures which allow the attending to highlight best practices and emerging research within their specialty. It is primarily aimed at the senior residents (CA-2 and CA-3).
  • Tuesday Conferences are resident-led discussions usually the same topic as Monday, but at an introductory level for junior residents. A faculty member mentors the senior residents in preparing this lecture for our CA-1 residents.
  • Wednesday Conferences are Anesthesiology Grand Rounds, which are topic presentations led by departmental faculty, guest faculty speakers from within the medical center and national speakers as part of our Visiting Professor Lecture Series. M&M Conference is often held during Grand Rounds as well. Subspecialty conferences follow Grand Rounds each week. These are 20-minute seminar discussions that vary by subspecialty.
  • Thursday Conferences are either another advanced lecture or a faculty-led conference that focuses on applying the knowledge obtained from the lectures given earlier in the week. During the Thursday conference, we incorporate small- or larger-group discussion, audience response system for cases and questions, Jeopardy and other interactive approaches that will enable the residents to apply what they have learned.

Three computer monitors glow in foreground in dark room and large window looks into simulated operation with multiple people in green scrubs

Embedded simulation—A small group of residents each week participate in a simulation scenario based off the lecture topics. Residents get an opportunity to directly apply the teaching from the lecture to a simulated case in our Mock OR.

In-Training Review—We incorporate a Focused Board Review during the month of February each year.

Photo on left shows residents sitting in hallway, waiting; photo on right shows resident in small room with two faculty members

Mock Orals—These are held twice each year. Many of the faculty members who participate in Mock Orals are official ABA Board Examiners.

Basic Examination Review—There is a multiweek review for the CA-1 residents just before they take their first certification exam in June. 

Several people in blue scrubs stand around and look at a cadaverCadaveric Workshops—An entire week each year is set aside for hands-on cadaveric workshop for upper- and lower-extremity blocks. An additional day is spent covering pertinent airway anatomy to teach airway blocks, cricothyrotomy and other advanced airway techniques such as retrograde wire intubation.