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Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary
Thompson Rivers University 50th Anniversary

ANES 4021: Pharmacology and Principles of Clinical Anesthesia

The goal of this course is to present the theory of clinical anesthesia to Anesthesia Assistant program students. Students build upon their general knowledge of pharmacological principles and learn pharmacology in the context of clinical anesthesia. Both general and regional anesthesia is considered. Students will learn the theory of current safe practice in pre-anesthetic care, preparation, induction, maintenance, and emergence from general anesthesia. The application of anesthetic workstation and other technology used in the delivery of anesthesia is considered as this course builds upon the theories from ANES 4001: Anesthesia Equipment and ANES 4011: Hemodynamic and Physiologic Monitoring.


After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop an anesthesia plan and predict the benefits associated with a thorough preoperative assessment.
  • Discuss the role and responsibility of the Anesthesia Assistant in pharmacology.
  • Identify differences in physiology and pathophysiology to consider when monitoring patients using invasive and non-invasive monitoring.
  • Explain the action, therapeutic use, preparation, dosage, mode of administration, and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of selected drugs.
  • Explain induction and discontinuation of general anesthesia, and the importance of positioning for specific situations/conditions.
  • Identify blood and fluid therapy alternatives for specific situations/conditions, and consider modifications when complications arise.
  • Discuss indications and contraindications for procedural sedation, including: airway access, airway assessment, appropriate dosing, and comorbidities.
  • Identify the risks and complications of airway management, predict problems associated with each device, and recommend corrective actions.
  • Describe general anesthesia for the obstetric and pediatric patient.
  • Compare spinal, epidural and peripheral nerve blocks (PNB) and describe regional methods in terms of mechanism of action, pharmacological effects, indications/ contraindications, dosage and volume.
  • Describe the recovery phases, appropriate assessment, and discharge criteria for postoperative care.
  • Suggest management for common postoperative problems.
  • Discuss the goals of pain management appropriate to patient needs.

Course outline

  • Module 1: Introduction to Clinical Anesthesia
  • Module 2: Basic Pharmacological Principles and Review of Central and Peripheral Autonomic Module Nervous System
  • Module 3: General Anesthesia
  • Module 4: Blood and Fluid Therapy
  • Module 5: Airway Management
  • Module 6: General Anesthesia for Pediatrics and Obstetrics
  • Module 7: Regional Anesthesia- Pharmacology of Local Anesthetics, Epidurals and Spinal Blocks
  • Module 8: Peripheral Nerve Blocks
  • Module 9: Conscious Sedation and Anesthesia Outside of the Operating Room
  • Module 10: Recovery and Pain Management

Required text and materials

Butterworth, J., Mackey, D., & Wasnick, J. (2018). Morgan & Mikhail’s Clinical Anesthesiology 6th ed). McGraw-Hill, Lange.
ISBN: 978-1-259-83442-4
Type: Textbook


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the mandatory final exam and 50% overall. Students who do not submit an assignment will be assigned a mark of zero (0) for that assignment. It is recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the course.

Assignment 1: ASA Case Study 3%
Quiz 1: Basic Pharmacological Principles 5%
Assignment 2: Drug Monograph 10%
Assignment 3: Mr. Trigger Case Study 10%
Assignment 4: Obstetric Anesthesia 7%
Quiz 2: Airway Management 5%
Assignment 5: PNB Response 2%
Assignment 6: Anesthetic and Recovery Plan 4%
Assignment 7: Recovery and Pain Management 4%
Discussions 15%
Final Exam* 35%
TOTAL 100%


Students applying this course towards any TRU Health Care program may be required to obtain a minimum 60% on the course to meet program requirements.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Management's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information when starting the course.

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