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Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma

This program prepares you to fill the role of an anesthesia assistant in the Canadian health care system. Anesthesia assistants are specially trained professionals who assist in the delivery of patient care during the perioperative period as part of anesthesiologist-led care teams.

To take this program, you must reside in Canada and have the designation of registered respiratory therapist (RRT), or registered nurse (RN) with critical care experience.

This program was developed to meet the graduate competency requirements identified in the CSRT National Educational Competency Framework for Anesthesia Assistants in accordance with provincial regulations and recommendations from the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS).

As of July 2017, this program has received Provisional Accreditation status from the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) Accreditation Services.

Calendar description

The Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma program is designed to provide respiratory therapists or registered nurses who possess critical care experience with the knowledge and critical skills required to fulfill the designated role of an Anesthesia Assistant and perform a wide range of technical clinical duties as defined and approved by the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS).

Program requirements

Admission requirements

  • Proof of professional licensure as an RRT or RN in Canada, or equivalent
  • At least one year of post-graduate clinical experience
  • A letter of sponsorship and commitment from an anesthesia department, typically your current place of employment, to deliver the clinical placement; more than one clinical site may be needed to fulfill all competencies required
  • Resumé, detailing your education and clinical care work experience

Residency requirements

A minimum of nine TRU credits (distance or on-campus)

Post-diploma requirements

Placement exam
  • ANES 0011, Anesthesia Assistant Placement Exam (0)

This placement exam is required to determine your course of studies. If you pass all subject areas of the exam, you directly enter and complete the program’s core courses prior to your clinical practicum placement. Otherwise, you must either take the corresponding course that relates to the failed subject area or else take all four support courses, rather than writing the exam.

Support course requirements (12 credits)
  • HLTH 2511, Introduction to Pharmacology (3)
  • HLTH 2573, Arterial Blood Gases (3)
  • RESP 1781, Principles and Applications of Respiratory Therapy Equipment I & II (3)
  • RESP 2161, Mechanical Ventilation (3)
Core course requirements (20 credits)
  • ANES 4001, Anesthesia Workstations (3)
  • ANES 4003, Airway Management (3)
  • ANES 4005, Anesthesia Adjunct Equipment (3)
  • ANES 4011, Hemodynamic and Physiological Monitoring (3)
  • ANES 4021, Pharmacology and Principles of Clinical Anesthesia (3)
  • ANES 4031, Clinical Anesthesia and Special Considerations (3)
  • ANES 4061, Anesthesia Assistant Professional Practice (1)
  • ANES 4071, Research Skills for Anesthesia Assistants (1)
Practicum requirements (9 credits)

Following the successful completion of all support and core course requirements, you take the full-time clinical practicum course:

Prior to your clinical practicum, you must have:

  • Provided proof of current Emergency Cardiac Care [Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)] certification
  • Passed all required support and core courses
  • Discussed the requirements of the clinical practicum placement with your Open Learning Faculty Member and the Clinical Preceptor
Program completion

The length of the program varies, depending upon your previous experience. However, the average completion time is less than two years; the maximum time allowed is three years. You are expected to continue with full- or part-time employment during your studies.

Student responsibility

You are responsible for finding a clinical practicum placement affiliate, such as a hospital, that is willing to undertake the training with you and that meets specific requirements. Refer to the Clinical Affiliation page and speak with the Program Administrator, Science.

Also, confirm that you have workplace insurance coverage in your home province/territory. TRU provides liability coverage for BC students on unpaid practicum placements; however, workplace safety insurance varies by province/territory.

Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select can be applied toward the program requirements of your chosen credential.

Also, before you register in a course not listed on the OL website, you must apply for a letter of permission. Otherwise, you may find that either course credits cannot be applied to your program or you must pay a transcript reassessment fee.

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