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Program Overview

Welcome

Welcome to Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine Master of Science in Anesthesia Program! This section will give you a glimpse into the life of a CWRU MSA student.

Clinical Experience

The clinical experience at CWRU MSA is unparalleled.  The exposure to clinical rotations is early and often. First year students participate in approximately 300 cases and work over 600 hours in the clinical setting, and graduate with an average of 2200 clinical hours and over 600 cases.  Having programs in three major metropolitan areas, CWRU MSA’s clinical training network provides students with the ability to train at many of the nations premier hospitals and with some world-renowned anesthesiologists.

Faculty

The dedicated faculty of the CWRU MSA Program, comprised of both anesthesiologists and CAAs, are extremely personable and approachable, which creates ideal learning conditions.  Efforts to encourage work-life balance, advocacy for the profession, and service to patients and society, as well as a willingness to mentor students in projects and research, give the students a unique and unparalleled experience.  Faculty members encourage student participation in teaching, advocacy and research, facilitating careers that pave the way to be the future leaders of the profession.   

Education

The education at CWRU MSA can be divided into three distinct elements: didactic, clinical and simulation.  The backbone of success in graduating some of the nation's best certified anesthesiologist assistants has historically been, and continues to be, clinical education.  In 2009, the CWRU MSA Program completed a redesign of the didactic and simulation curriculum, implementing innovative educational models and techniques.  The vision of CWRU MSA is to educate the finest non-physician anesthesia providers in the world.

First Year

Clinical exposure begins almost immediately, following a three week “Anesthesia Boot Camp,” which consists of many simulation experiences and several days of didactic preparation. This “Introduction to Anesthesia” summer semester yields about 100 clinical hours, over 100 didactic hours, and over 50 hours of simulation experiences. 

The next phase begins in the Fall semester and is considered the basic anesthetic management phase of the program.  Students work clinically for up to three days each week learning about anesthetic management and honing the procedural skills learned in the simulation labs, while building the foundation of medical and anesthesia knowledge needed, in the classroom.  During this semester, CWRU MSA’s innovative and integrated simulation program provide a mixture of clinical skills labs and individual attention during hi-fidelity simulation training with the advanced partial task trainers and hi-fidelity simulators.

The final phase of first year begins in the spring semester, when students are expected to understand and perform basic anesthetic management under the watchful supervision of their clinical instructors, which include anesthesiologists, certified anesthesiologist assistants, senior anesthesia residents, and fellows.  During this semester, students work up to four days in the clinical setting, continue the core anesthesia and medical classroom learning, and begin the most innovative portion of the curricular continuum. CWRU MSA’s new and innovative curriculum includes a mixture of advanced simulated skills labs, hi-fidelity crisis management simulation, a cutting edge Anesthesia-Non Technical Skills (ANTS) lab work, and highly interactive Clinical Decision Making class, all integrated to maximize technical skills, crisis management, anesthetic management and knowledge acquisition.  CWRU MSA’s philosophy encourages early and considerable clinical experience, physician taught basic sciences, CAA taught innovative classes, all coupled with an integrated, innovative and technologically advanced simulation programs.  An emphasis on student quality management yields the most prepared first year students in the country.  All CWRU MSA first year clinical rotations are in the program’s home city allowing maximum quality control over first year clinical experiences.

The CWRU MSA program utilizes and integrates advanced technology in the classroom, in-person lectures, small group discussion, distance learning, as well as online video and audio access to learning experiences to ensure that students at all programs receive a standardized didactic curriculum.

Second Year

Having gained a solid footing in anesthetic management and knowledge in their first year, students begin the senior year of the program integrating specialty training rotations.  Students are in the operating room up to six days per week, occasionally take overnight calls, and essentially put in the hours of a full time certified anesthesiologist assistant. 

CWRU MSA has mandatory rotations in various sub-specialties of anesthesia. Students are required to complete rotations in pediatrics, cardio-thoracic/cardio-vascular, neurosurgery, obstetrics, trauma, intensive care/preoperative clinic, and ambulatory anesthesia.  Case Western Reserve also provides elective rotations that students can use to travel to outside rotations in their home states or to areas they are considering seeking employment.  Students can sometimes get several months of specialty rotations like pediatric anesthesia, setting them apart from a field of graduates nationwide when applying to specialty hospitals.  

During the second year journal clubs, weekly case presentation conferences, and an Ethics & Law of Practice class round out the completion of the didactic portion of training.

Growth

CWRU-MSA is constantly adding clinical sites to the already impressive list of clinical affiliates nationwide. There is no doubt, these new clinical sites will continue to provide superior general and specialty training for CWRU MSA second year students.

CWRU MSA is committed to providing students with the highest quality experiences evidenced by the ongoing clinical instructor curriculum development, and the impressive pool of dedicated clinical instructors across the nation.  CWRU MSA provides clinical instructors with a host of resources including Continuing Medical Education (CME) opportunities in both anesthetic knowledge and clinical education to further refinement of our student’s learning experience.  

Research

Historically CAAs and CAA students have not participated in research, but CWRU MSA has led the way in fostering the importance of research to the advancement of anesthesiology and CAA practice.  With the advent of CWRU MSA’s didactic and simulation curriculum, the use of cutting edge distance learning techniques in CAA education, and the close integration with academic anesthesiology departments, participation in research is becoming more available.