The Critical Care Residency Training Program at the University of Alberta is an integrated medical/surgical program for the training of residents in adult critical care medicine. It is designed to take residents from their base specialties of Anesthesia, General Surgery, Internal Medicine and its subspecialties, Emergency Medicine and Cardiovascular Surgery, and provide them with the key competencies and experience necessary to fulfill the role of intensive care physician in a community or tertiary general systems intensive care unit.
The Critical Care Medicine program spans two years and fulfills the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada requirements for training. The mandatory thirteen blocks of core critical care medicine are divided into eight-week blocks at the University of Alberta and Royal Alexandra Hospital sites. One additional block is dedicated to both community and vascular surgery exposure at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Critical care medicine residents are assigned to a clinical teaching team including an attending intensivist, rotating residents, respiratory therapists, as well as allied health care workers (pharmacists, dieticians, physio- and occupational therapists, social workers and chaplains). Responsibility is graded – residents are expected to progress to the junior attending role over the two-year training program. Residents are scheduled for 8 home-call shifts each 28-day block while on core ICU rotations.
In addition, trainees will spend one block in both the Cardiovascular and Neurosciences ICUs, both of which are located at the University of Alberta.
Between core rotations there is ample elective time to round out the resident’s knowledge and pursue special interests or projects. Up to three blocks can be used to complete the mandatory research or quality improvement project. Other elective options include anesthesia, bronchoscopy, pulmonary, nephrology, echocardiography (level 1 certification), transport medicine, general and/or transplant infectious diseases, coronary care unit (CCU), and toxicology. Residents are not expected to do any call while on elective rotations – leaving ample time for reading and exam preparation.
The Department of Critical Care Medicine produces an impressive amount of research in relation to faculty size. Research opportunities include investigator-initiated studies funded by CIHR, Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (PRIHS - Partnerships for Research and Innovation in the Health System) and the University Hospital Foundation Competition. The Department holds a large number of peer-reviewed grants. In addition, Department members are involved a variety of research methodologies (eg. single-center and multicenter clinical trials, observational studies, meta-analyses, outcomes and health services research). Additional academic activities include weekly Critical Care Medicine Grand Rounds, medical simulation sessions (twice per year), academic half-day sessions, and Department-wide journal clubs.