Pharmacologically induced state of being insensate
The development of anaesthesia led to great progress in contemporary medical practice. Most surgical procedures would be impossible without the technology of anaesthesia and the skills of the anaesthetist.

About the specialty

Anaesthesia is the pharmacologically induced state of being insensate – numb to pain or sensation – which can be controlled and reversed. 

The Nuffield Professor of Anaesthetics is the Head of Specialty at the University and also the Head of Anaesthetics at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Department of Anaesthetics.

Research and teaching in the field of anaesthesia and pain management are conducted across a variety of clinical schools and hospitals affiliated with the University of Sydney.

Study options

We teach Doctor of Medicine (MD) students subjects ranging from uptake and distribution of anaesthetic agents to muscle relaxants, medical education and training. 

Anaesthetics education at the University is provided by five of our clinical schools:

These innovative degrees have been designed by critical-care clinicians for doctors interested in emergency medicine, anaesthetics and intensive-care medicine.

Coursework includes basic sciences, retrieval medicine and pain management, teaching in simulation and clinical communication and decision making relevant to the practice of critical care. You will gain insights and understanding into how research informs practice and undertake a critical appraisal of the evidence guiding practice in an area of critical care medicine.

*Requires a medical degree

The University offers a range of research opportunites to help you pursue your passion. You can undertake a:

To learn more about research opportunities in the Faculty of Medicine and Health visit our postgraduate research page.

Some critical-care units of study are available as non-award courses. If you are interested in completing a non-award unit please contact the course coordinator.

View available units of study, including course coordinator information.

Please note that CRIT5008 Evidence and Ethics in Critical Care is not available for non-award study.

Learn more about professional development and short courses at the Sydney Medical School.

Our research

Clinical research is available at all of the teaching hospitals by consultation with senior clinical academic staff. Our researchers have access to laboratories located at Royal Prince Alfred and Royal North Shore hospitals which include large and small animal facilities, human studies laboratories, analytical chemistry laboratories, a neurophysiological laboratory and a cardiorespiratory exercise laboratory.

Our research covers the following areas:

  • cardiorespiratory measurement
  • cardiorespiratory and neurophysiological pharmacology
  • cardiopulmonary exercise and anaesthesia and surgery
  • pain control and monitoring system for efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness
  • pain mechanisms and rehabilitation
  • pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of opioid and anti-prostanoid analgesic agents
  • the relevance of drug stereochemistry in anaesthesia and pain management
  • studies of release and blockade of pain-producing chemicals
  • spinal mechanisms of analgesia and clinical studies of new spinal analgesics
  • pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of neuromuscular blocking drugs
  • pharmacokinetics of fentanyl and droperidol in cardiac anaesthesia.

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