Life in ICU as an acute medic

Hello all!  

As take AIM fellows we are all going to start blogging soon to let those of you unfortunate enough not to yet see the acute medicine light what we are up to and what life is like for us as acute medicine registrars! 

You may or may not have read the rest of our website yet to gain an insight into what we are about and what this project is for so just to sum up....

The six of us are acute medics working across the country at various stages of our specialist training. And unusually, we seem to love our job so much we feel the need to tell everyone else about it too!

I am an ST5 in acute med working in Severn deanery and like my fellows and plenty of other acute medicine trainees across the UK  I work in hospitals varying from DGH's such as Gloucester, to large tertiary hospitals such as Southmead Hospital in Bristol.  

As part of our training in the five years as acute medics we are required to work in ICU for a period of time which usually means 6 months. Not many of you guys seem to know that and indeed, most of the intensivists I work with often still ask me if I am an ACCS trainee, or (if they have managed to grasp the fact I am a medical registrar) whether I am respiratory or not!

A lot of people have no idea what we do as acute medics....so we are here to tell you!  

I am just coming to the end of working in Intensive care in a large trauma and neurosurgical centre in the middle of Bristol. The unit has 48 beds. Pretty big for even those of you who are used to ICU. 

It receives patients from far outwith our deanery for all kinds of reasons and is a pretty big challenge for any registrar to work in, let alone a registrar whose speciality is medicine rather than intensive care.

I won't lie, it's been a pretty big challenge for me.  Sometimes accepting your limits can be a hard pill to swallow. But, it's been an important experience in my career... I come from an ACCS background as an SHO so am pretty used to performing a lot of practical procedures a lot of medical registrars baulk at like central lines but, my ICU experience became a seriously cool one the other day when I managed my first blind subclavian central line. (Ie no Ultrasound to guide you!) 

Now, while I don't plan on doing many subclavian lines as an acute medicine consultant, that, for me helped demonstrate why acute medicine training is so brill. It's so varied! Where else could you spend your time seeing patients, working on medical diagnostic conundrums and do practical things like put central lines into people? 

In acute medicine that kind of thing is never far away, you really don't know what you'll be be doing from one day to the next. What other kind of medical training would allow you such opportunities eh?!