My Year as a clinical fellow in Intensive Care Medicine

Fiona Walker

Last year I had the privilege of being an ICM clinical fellow at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and I absolutely loved it. The city, the patients and the staff made it a year I’ll never forget.

As a bit of background, I wasn’t always planning to work in ICM. My initial plan was to specialise in Oncology, and I very much dreamt of spending the rest of my life wearing fabulous outfits and avoiding chaos as much as I could… Alas, a couple of medical school placements and a foundation job later I was a convert. Turns out scrubs and crocs are a much comfier combination anyway.

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Music, the ICU and me!

Liz Thomas

I have sung in choirs since I was 10 years old. I remember my first concert – singing treble in some choruses of Messiah with the senior school choir, from that concert on I realised that singing was important to me. I considered a career as a professional musician, but my mother pointed out to me I didn’t really practice enough, it was a very tough field to get work in and I could probably get a lot of enjoyment from music as a hobby with income from a different career. So, I followed her advice and went to medical school.

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Nutrition Protocols Won’t Treat a Patient as an Individual but a Dietitian Can

Samantha Cook

Leaving school I had little idea of what I wanted to be “when I grow up,” so I pursued my interests and choose to study BSc Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham.  Fast forward to my final year of study and I was little the wiser as to where I wanted my career to take me.  During finals my father underwent a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft and as part of his rehabilitation saw a dietitian – cue light-bulb moment

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Top Tips for Exam Revision from a Trainee ACCP

Stevie Park

When I first started my trainee ACCP journey, I had not idea what was in store for me. I felt pretty confident as an experienced critical care nurse and I have always said some of my top qualities are being organised and good at time management. Then came the time to start preparing for our end of year OSCE and MCQ exam.

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Environmentally Sustainable Intensive Care

Heather Baid

Climate change is now considered to be a climate crisis because of the health emergency occurring from increasing carbon dioxide levels, rising temperatures, climbing sea levels, more frequent extreme weather events, worsening air pollution and loss of biodiversity1, 2

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Shining The Light Onto Radiology Requests

Derek Smith

As is often said of critical care teams, radiologists are another group who can be considered in the small cohort of the last few “true generalists”. Depending on the size of your hospital your radiologist will be doing anything from checking line placement on a CXR, removing a disabling MCA clot in an acute stroke patient, assessing a post-transplant liver in the unit on ultrasound, reducing a paediatric bowel intussusception, be scrubbed in securing a TEVAR in a aneurysm, or a combination of the above…

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FY1 Meets Intensive Care…in a Pandemic

Sarafina Bailey

I think I speak for myself and fellow doctors who graduated in 2020, when I say “it was not what we were expecting”! My graduation from St George’s Medical School after six years of studying there consisted of me watching an online ceremony in my living room while the world wrestled with rising coronavirus cases.  There I was on 25.06.21 no cap or gown, no celebration with my classmates or tutors but somehow ready to start working as an F1 doctor with the added realisation of having to work in a pandemic and on intensive care for four months.

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Putting Pen to Paper

Sneha Narayan

My name is Sneha and I’m currently a CT3 in ACCS – Acute Medicine, having worked in Intensive care and Anaesthetics during the first wave of the pandemic last year. I studied in London and trained in Southampton before moving to Hertfordshire for my core training. Outside of medicine my passion has always been in the arts, ever since I was a young girl and learnt various art forms from my Grandmother. Ever since then, art has become my escape and my solace outside of my day job.

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Words from our WICMEL fellows Part 1

Caroline Ferguson
Debbie Kerr

We’re thrilled to be able to run WICMEL again for 2021 (application window closes 30 May.) We had 4 fabulous WICMEL fellows from our 2019 programme and we wanted to share their thoughts on the programme. In part one we’ll hear from Dr Caroline Ferguson and Dr Debbie Kerr.

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Establishing an ICU follow up service and the COVID response – Tea & cake to Teams!

Lucy Hogg

“I could take a look at that!”  were the fateful words I uttered which led me and my colleagues on a journey of discovery into ICU follow-up and ultimately in us establishing a new service in our hospital. 

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From Intensive Care to Aviation Medicine

Vanesa Garnelo Rey

My passion for aviation was born when I was little. Every August I used to watch a magnificent Harrier display in the North West Coast of Spain where I grew up. Standing next to my dad with ear defenders, I said ‘Dad, that is so cool! How do they do that’? But a TV cartoon series called ‘Once upon a time life’ captivated an entire generation of children who would later become doctors including myself.

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Eyes on the Prize – Why is Eye Care Important?

Duncan Philp

Many patients in the ITU are unable to look after their own eyes so it is vitally important that we take care of them on their behalf. They are at higher risk of eye damage both as a result of their acute illness and due to the treatment they receive on ITU. 

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Alternative Career Paths in ICM

Jacqueline McCarthy

In the earlier stages of my training, I disliked the discomfort I felt when patients deteriorated to a level beyond my skill set. The ICM doctors who arrived at such times clutching bags of impressive sounding drugs and equipment before whipping them away with an air of proficiency impressed me. I applied for ACCS training, hoping to join their ranks. Vocalising an interest in ICM prompted a range of responses from colleagues. “Are you sure?”….

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POCUS and the Sceptics

Alex Scott

As I was saying at the odd conference before we were so all so rudely interrupted, Point of Care Ultrasound is finally coming of age in the UK.  It has taken a while – the first diagnostic use of ultrasound was in the 1940s by a neurologist, a comparatively rapid pickup from the first demonstrations of Non-Destructive Testing for metals using ultrasound in 1928. 

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My path to critical care pharmacy and the FICM Pharmacy Sub-Committee

Emma Taylor

I originally chose to study pharmacy after being inspired by some family-friends who owned their own community pharmacy. I studied at Nottingham University, and only changed my mindset towards hospital pharmacy at the very end of my degree and managed to secure my Pre-Registration Pharmacist year in my local district general hospital. My training was excellent, I loved the clinical aspects of the job, and I was encouraged by the team to progress my career in hospital pharmacy.

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Preparing for the FFICM (final) examination – an examiner’s view

Victoria Robson
FFICM Exam Chair

FFICM is a ‘high stakes’ exam taken by ICM trainees, and is mandatory before entry it stage 3 training. This article aims to give some tips and pointers to trainees who are preparing for this exam, written by an experienced FFICM examiner.  

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Coffee afternoons, baby yoga and a masters?

Samantha Batt-Rawden

As a dual trainee who had never jumped off the training treadmill, I was looking forward to my maternity leave. I had pictured long coffee afternoons with other new mothers, taking up baking and trying my hand at baby yoga. Heck, I had thought I was going to be so refreshed by what I thought would be a break I might even sign up to do a part-time Masters in my ‘time off’.

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Working as an International Medical Graduate with a BAME Background during COVID-19

Shashi Chandrashekaraiah, Sushruth Raghunath, Avinash Jha, Arif Akbar, Ikenga Samuel & Mohammed Elshamy

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) account for approximately 25% of the current UK trainee doctor workforce and are predominantly of black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. There has been a lot of discussion during the current COVID-19 crisis about IMGs and their contribution to the NHS, VISA/Immigration health surcharge and the more important topic of increased mortality among BAME doctors from COVID-19.

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Who still believes in Santa and science?

Matt Morgan

As I look through my office window at yellowing patches of summer grass, it may seem strange to talk about Christmas. But these are strange times. I remember being told that there are three stages of life – first you believe in Santa, then you don’t believe in Santa, then you are Santa.

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The academic response to COVID-19

Tony Rostron

For those of us who contribute to patient facing research, there were signals in early March that our working lives were about to change. The safety implications related to recruitment of and sampling from patients in studies who were potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2 needed to be considered. As a result many NIHR portfolio studies, supported by their funders, decided to pause recruitment.

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#BetterTogether: The Critical Care Team

Sarah Clarke

One of the difficult jobs during this pandemic is not only our dedication and commitment to best care of our patients, but the supervision and support of those less familiar to the Critical Care environment. This may be our own trainees, but also others for whom the decision to come to our ‘space’ hasn’t necessarily been their own; and includes other specialty trainees, senior medical staff, nursing colleagues and allied health professionals.

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Finding a consultant post: Why district general ICM was the right choice for me

Debbie Kerr

The final years of training can be somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster – you’re excited to finally see the ‘reward’ for all those years of hard work, but anxious about taking on a new post and responsibilities. Perhaps one of the more difficult considerations is where you want to work as a consultant, and how this will influence your career progression after training… it certainly was for me! In this blog, I wanted to share my thoughts about finding a consultant post, and why becoming a district general ICU consultant was the right choice for me.

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‘Stepping down’ from Critical Care and into freefall: a patient’s perspective

Catherine White

What happens to your patients once they leave ICU?

What may be the end of the story for critical care healthcare professionals is usually the beginning of a long, difficult and sometimes very lonely journey for patients and their relatives.

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Capacity in Critical Care

Kate Rimmer

The issue of mental capacity in the critical care environment can be fraught with difficulty and can cause anxiety to staff working in these environments.  It is important for all staff involved in the care of the critically ill to understand the law in relation to capacity and consent and have knowledge of the process of making a capacity assessment. 

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Time to Change!

Nish Desai

The time has come; Striking the Balance our first ever WICM meeting on 27 September 2019, on a rather wet Friday at the Royal College of Anaesthetists. In all the excitement leading up to the event, I recall speaking to Lucy Rowan at the Faculty the day before to discuss the day and shared my rather nervous feelings about writing this blog.

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Being Male in Medicine – Changing Social Gender-Based Expectations

Rosie Baurah & Mark Hughes

On the 2nd of June I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Woman In Surgery Scottish Meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. The programme was packed full of enthusiastic and informative speakers – and one of them, Mr Mark Hughes, an ST8 in neurosurgery who I have the privilege to work with at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, also happened to be male!

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Neurocritical Care – why I love what I do and succession planning!

Manni Wariach

After two amazing years at Southampton Neuro ICU and 50,000 miles on the clock, I am moving back to London to be closer to my girls. Thinking about succession planning for my post has allowed me to enthuse to the Wessex ICM trainees about how rewarding my job has been here. So why should they consider applying for my job?

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Returning to Work

Rosie Baruah

There is increased awareness amongst the medical royal colleges of the challenges of returning to work after a long period away, and the need for this to be a structured, managed process.  The Faculty is developing its own Return to Work (RTW) guidance, which will be a synthesis of the guidance provided by its constituent colleges.

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