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Assistant Student Rotation

For More Information

For more information on the assistant student rotation, contact Courtney Degner at

The University of New Mexico's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care offers rotations for visiting rotating anesthesiologist assistant students in Albuquerque.


  • AA students should report to the OR no later than 6:30 a.m. for preparation of the new case day.

  • Students should prepare appropriate airway equipment, syringes, transducers and pumps/hotlines for each case. We have pyxis medication dispensers in each room, so you’ll need to contact whoever you are working with for access to meds. Our anesthesia techs are happy to help with setting up lines, etc.

  • AA students will review the PMH and anesthesia plan for the day’s caseload with attending anesthesiologist/anesthetist.

  • AA students are expected to attend our weekly resident lectures and/or grand rounds/visiting professor lectures. These occur every Friday morning at 6:30.

  • AA students should stay with the OR room that they have chosen for the respective day. Do not change rooms multiple times throughout the day unless instructed to do so. 

Regional Preference

  • It's preferable that AA program students are either from the Southwestern region of the United States (Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona) or have family in one or several of these states.
  • We will accept students from other regional backgrounds with a vested interest in pursuing employment with our department.
  • For more information, contact Courtney Degner.

About the Assistant Student Rotation

There are 40 attending anesthesiologists and 31 house staff working throughout UNM Health. Training for residents and fellows begins in late June each year. Additionally, we have 27 full-time AA-Cs, five full-time CRNAs, and one full-time PA covering operating rooms (OR) at UNM's main campus and at Sandoval Regional Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

Types of Anesthesia Cases

Our patient population tends to bring us complex clinical cases that require high acuity anesthetics. Case mix includes:

  • Trauma
  • Burns
  • Otolaryngology
  • Orthopedics
  • General surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Urology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Gynecology and gynecological oncology

Obstetrics and cardiothoracic cases are generally reserved for resident training. 

Specialty Rotations

UNM offers a general OR rotation, and neurosurgical cases are usually available. In the past, we have found success in placing AA students in our pediatric ORs for one week of their rotation.


Initially, AA students will be paired with AAs for two to three weeks and are free to choose their own rooms after that. Some soloing attending anesthesiologists are amenable to taking AA students as well. We try to accommodate requests for specific types of cases when available.

Typical Workday and Hours

The AA student should look at the next day OR schedule (available by 3 p.m.) and be familiar with the anesthetic implications of their chosen cases. 

We have students work standard shifts until 3 p.m. five days a week. We obviously hope students will take the opportunity to finish cases whenever possible. There is no required call, but 3-11 p.m., weekend, and night shifts are available for those with noted interest in open positions within our department, or those looking for more clinical hours.

All students that have their rotations arranged more than 45 days in advance will have the opportunity to gain computer access at UNM. 


Housing is currently provided for one student each month in a modest studio apartment at Girard Apartments with a bed, kitchen area and bathroom. Some kitchen utensils and linens are provided. We have recently expanded to accepting two students most months. The second student is responsible for their own housing.

Continuing Medical Education

Grand rounds, held by attending and resident anesthesiologists, are held every Friday at 6:30 a.m. Visiting professor lectures are usually held every third Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., and Friday at 6:30 a.m. of each month. Pediatric grand rounds are held every Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.