Critical Care Training Program

Critical Care

Critical Care Western invites you to come train with us!  With decades of experience in the education of Residents and Fellows in Critical Care Medicine, an extensive network of former graduates across Canada and the world, a local culture of clinical expertise, scholarship and innovation, we offer tailored programs that coordinate with your background training and adapt to your goal. 

Check out the highlights of the Critical Care Western training program

Clinical Expertise

Critical Care Western prepares trainees to take care of sick patients. Our trainees are comfortable managing large volumes, high acuity, advanced technologies and collaboratively integrating within various care models.

Some trainees start at the Richard Ivey Critical Care Trauma Centre at Victoria hospital, a 30-bed unit serving Vascular Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Trauma, Obstetrical, Oncology and Respirology populations. Clinical time is active. You will supervise eight to ten residents per block, work through multiple trauma admissions per day and develop comfort running simultaneous resuscitations. Trainees become comfortable with percutaneous tracheostomy assisted by CCTC consultants and CRRT initiation including catheter insertion and prescription.

Half your core ICU blocks are spent at the Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital. MSICU has 24 beds specializing in the care of Neurological, Neurosurgical, Renal and Hepatic Transplantation and Cardiology patients requiring invasive ventilation. You will gain experience with sub-hairline EEG, management of intra-aortic balloon counter-pulsation devices (IABP) and prolonged mechanical ventilation. One day of call overseeing ten residents and five admissions including a liver transplant, STEMI cardiac arrest, massive variceal hemorrhage and status epilepticus would not be uncommon!  As the only Senior Resident overseen by a single consultant in both of these units your experiential learning will be tremendous.

During your two blocks in the Cardiac Surgery Recovery Unit you further develop skills in advanced support including VA and VV ECMO, IABP, Left Ventricular Assist Devices among other Mechanical Circulatory Supports.  Through LHSC’s leadership as one of three provincial centres for Cardiac Transplantation, trainees are also exposed to this unique population. 

Point-of-Care Ultrasound

Critical Care Western is rarely mentioned without a tribute to POCUS! Emanating from the vision of Dr. Rob Arntfield, POCUS has embedded itself into the workflow of Western trainees. Faculty collaborators in all ICUs utilize POCUS alongside fellows and rotating housestaff to perform >1000 studies yearly. Severe hypoxemia and refractory shock will be guided by POCUS with senior residents becoming experts in image acquisition, interpretation and implementation to become a resource for colleagues upon graduation.

In addition to basic cardiothoracic imaging, trainees are exposed to advanced hemodynamic profiling, incorporation of machine learning and neural networks for assessing lung architecture and expansion of resuscitative POCUS to areas like transcranial doppler, optic nerve ICP assessment and intra-arrest transesophageal echocardiography.

Synchronously with clinical work, Critical Care Western Seniors have the opportunity to collaborate in POCUS innovation with several faculty actively involved in research. Visit the WesternSono website for more information.

Learner Emphasis

Every program supports their learners, right? How is Critical Care Western different?  in addition to weekly protected Academic Half Days, learners are supported by faculty in the following ways:

Mentorship is provided by Critical Care Western faculty, both formally through the Coaching program whereby quartely meetings ensure learners meet competency-based medical education requirments and informally, through a network of approachable faculty who strive to individualize mentorship. While the Competency by Design curriculum of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada aims for cempetence by the end of the training, our residents are encouraged to pursue excellence!

Our simulation program, led by Dr. Rob Leeper, provides exceptional learning opportunities. Seniors are exposed to rare, challenging pathologies (rich with EPA moments), learn Crisis Resource Management and develop language to debrief colleagues after emotional moments, provide feedback to junior trainees and communicate intelligently in ethically complex situations.

Every core ICU block includes five days designtated for scholarship. Beyond providing the opportunity to complete Royal College scholarly projects, trainees are encouraged to focus on their well-being and mindfulness, recuperate from a challenging call period or reconnect to their personal lives.

The faculty is supportive and collegial. Pre-COVID quarterly catered Journal Clubs at local restaurants, yearly barbecues, graduation dinners and spontaneous gatherings were routine. Despite pandemic restrictions, virtual meetings have replaced in-person meetings. However, the focus to cultivating a positive, learner-friendly environment has persisted. In addition to these experiences, Critical Care Western supports accommodation and nourishment at the Acute Critical Event Simulation course, the Canadian Critical Care Forum Fellows' Day, the Canadian Critical Care Review Course and educational conferences!