The WICM 10 – Pt. 1

Rosie Baruah, Sammy Batt Rawden, Stephanie Cattlin, Nish Desai, Ingi Elsayed

In order to commemorate FICM’s 10th Anniversary, WICM have produced a collaborative blog celebrating 10 role models of 10 WICM members.

The blog this month will come in two instalments covering the 10 articles, the first five of which are below for you to enjoy.

My Role Model by Dr Rosie Baruah

I started my first ICU job at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh in November 2002, as a second year medical SHO. I had a 4-month placement as part of my medical rotation and was the only SHO on the team with zero anaesthetic or ICU experience. I had wanted to do ICM since I was a medical student but once I was actually there, the prospect of saying out loud to anyone that I wanted to be an intensivist seemed absurd. I felt I knew nothing and could do nothing.

Despite this, I loved my 4 months there. The consultants, anaesthetic trainees and nurses were all so supportive and I gradually felt a little less useless as time went by. Then on my last day, one of our Band Fs, Lindy Manson said to me, “Come back and do an SHO III job, Rosie. You’re good at this.” It was the first time anyone had said to me that this was something I could actually think of doing as a career, and that I was actually good enough to do it  – and Lindy’s comments spurred me on to apply for anaesthetic SHO training and 10 years after starting my first job as an SHO, I started as a consultant at the Western General ICU.

I’ve chosen Lindy as my role model as she is someone I have worked with throughout my ICM career, initially when she was an F Grade nurse on the unit and latterly in her role as an Education Co-ordinator. In her clinical role, I remember Lindy holding her own and advocating for patients, families and staff against some very strong personalities in a way that was patient, benevolent yet authoritative and this is a quality I would love to emulate. She has real gravitas in her manner, in a way that is often challenging for women to demonstrate in the workplace. It’s all too easy for women in senior roles to be pigeonholed as ‘scary’, but Lindy could never be described in this way – and she gets the job done and is hugely respected by her medical, nursing and AHP colleagues. In her education role, Lindy has trained hundreds of nurses in NHS Lothian and she has a talent for allowing learners to feel safe enough to ask the questions they need to ask whilst also making sure they understand the standards they need to meet in their clinical practice.

Now that I am a consultant, I remain grateful to all the people who contributed to my training and continue to support me now – but I know that without Lindy’s faith and support I would not be doing this job. Thank you, Lindy!

Why Lindy is my ICU role model:

  • She is a great example of effective, authoritative and compassionate leadership
  • She does not shy away from having challenging conversations and conducts these in a non-confrontational way but is clear when behaviours have been unacceptable and what needs to happen as a result
  • She is brave enough to say when she doesn’t know something
  • She sets a welcoming, safe tone for any teaching sessions she runs
  • (I have to put this one in) She has the most amazing hair and anyone who knows Lindy would know why I have included this!

Strong women lift other women up by Dr Sammy Batt Rawden

I had always been interested in ICM, but it was not until my first ICU rotation during my ACCS training that I decided to apply. During that placement, I worked under Dr H, the only female consultant in a group of men. A phenomenal clinician and a fierce advocate for both her patients and her trainees, Dr H became the role model I looked up to, although she probably didn’t know it at the time.

Direct, honest, Dr H would give it to you straight. That, I appreciated, and I learned a huge amount from her. Years later I found myself laughing with a fellow female trainee who I’d trained with under Dr H many years before; we approach our sick patients and write our notes the exact same way and realised it was because of Dr H. All this time later and having moved on many moons ago we are still striving to meet that same high standard she set for us.

I have always been a bit of a ‘softy’, and have often been told I ‘care too much’. I did not know if I was ‘tough enough’ for a career in Intensive Care Medicine. But whilst Dr H is no doubt tough (and I mean absolutely unflappable, I’m not sure anything phases her) over the year I worked with her it became clear that she was also unfailingly kind, and cared just as much, if not more, than I did.

That compassion was carried over to her trainees. When I went through a difficult period when my son was born extremely prematurely, Dr H was one of the only Consultants I heard from. Not just once, but repeatedly, checking in to see if her former trainee who had moved on many years ago was ok. I still get messages now.

Perhaps she, as mother, who always seemed so effortless in keeping all the plates spinning, just gets it. However, I have always said if you can see it, you can be it. There is no doubt that working with Dr H as a female intensivist, and one I aspire to be like one day, cemented my decision to apply for intensive care.

Dr Elaine Hipwell is an Intensive Care and Anaesthetic Consultant at Frimley Park Hospital.

Dr Elizabeth Blackwell by Dr Stephanie Cattlin

When trying to decide who I think of as a role model there are so many that come to mind. Some I know in person, whom I have worked with during my career (and still do), others are inspirational leaders within medicine or beyond. We all may look for something different in those that we chose, or those that perhaps choose us.

The role model I have chosen is someone who lived over a century ago, long before the advent of the NHS, the birth of the specialty of intensive care medicine or of anyone reading this blog, but her determination and pioneering drive makes her stand out as someone who inspires.

Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, born in Britain, trained in medicine in the USA, was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, the first woman on the GMC register, a professor at the London School of Medicine for Women…. these are just some of the long list of her accomplishments, in a time when medical schools did not accept women and patients were not used to being treated by a female physician.

Dr Blackwell overcame obstacle after obstacle, and whilst doing so inspired other women to do the same, she worked alongside those she inspired, so that together they could encourage the further education of women in the field of medicine. To make the seemingly impossible, possible. To make the rarity, the norm.

It is that determination, that drive to never give up on achieving her goal, encouraging others to do the same, and whilst doing so supporting them in their achievements, and leaving such a legacy for women in medicine – that led me to choose Dr Blackwell. What more could you want in a role model, as these qualities still remain those that we look for in our role models today.

Whilst some are pioneers, breaking the glass ceiling like Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, role models come in all forms and inspire us in different ways. The things I look for in a role model are how they treat others with kindness, with respect and compassion, how they take an interest, they may aid in the development of others in guiding training, careers. Or it can be something even more simple than that, someone who is willing just to sit down and have a coffee with you and talk things through when times are easy, or when times are tough – someone who is willing to listen.

If you were asked the same question, to pick a role model, who would you choose?


My Role Models by Dr Nish Desai

We often do not recognise or appreciate good role models until we have noticed our own personal growth and progress.

My own role models go back to my time as an Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) trainee in the Oxford Deanery. I met Dave and Segun during my 6 months rotation in Intensive Care Medicine (ICM). I was very much new to ICM, under confident and a quiet individual, and here were two amazing senior registrars who were clinically astute, confident and yet very personable. I saw them as the superheroes of ICM. They inspired me with their passion for medicine and their seemingly effortless ability to cope with any difficult situation clinical or personal with poise and elegance. Segun has an infectious drive for life and maintains an incredible passion for ICM that is impossible to resist. Dave remains one of the nicest and most supportive people I have met in my career. They were both enthusiastic about echocardiography in the critically ill and I must have been subconsciously driven and inspired by them, as many years down the line I have completed the Adult Critical Care British Society of Echocardiography Accreditation. At the time of getting my ICM training number in London I distinctly remember wanting to thank them. Remembering a conversation where they were both enthusiastically talking about a particular Xbox game, I ended up getting them an individual copy each of Batman: Arkham City as a thank you present.

Good roles models for me are people that have affected me in a way to make me want to be a better person, both professionally and in society. Dave and Segun have had faith in my abilities and helped me learn to advocate for myself. They helped me recognise my strengths and work on my weakness and at times, perhaps knew me better than I knew myself.

Eight years later, I am still closely in touch with them both, and they continue to support me and still take an interest in my career. Dave and I recently published an article together (naturally on critical care echocardiography). Segun and I run an ICM course together – motivating a new batch of hopefuls to join the specialty. It is reassuring to know that if I ever have something playing on my mind related to my professional career, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, Dave and Segun will always make the time to listen and for that, I am very grateful.

Dr Dave Garry is now the Clinical Lead in Intensive Care at the John Radcliff Hospital in Oxford and Dr Segun Olusanya is currently doing an echo fellowship at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

My Role Model by Dr Ingi Elsayed

Faced with the task of writing about a role model. I did not need to spend any time in thinking, for one has always been on my mind, guiding and inspiring, Dr Danny Bryden.

Ever since I embarked on a career in intensive care, her personal and professional qualities became progressively more obvious to me, hence I chose to stay close to her, to imbibe through a period of apprenticeship; I learned to learn.

An ambitious person possessing an analytical mind by nature, she demonstrates an unparalleled perseverance when tackling any problem whether related to patient care or general organisational matters. Many were the occasions where these qualities were tested in front of me and I followed her intently. Not accepting failure nor admitting that there is such a thing as an insurmountable obstacle, she applies all her skills, mind and vigour to solving any problem showing the utmost degree of composure and combining leadership qualities with decisiveness. Moreover, she shows how to be innovative, thinking outside the box when it comes to new challenges, those that will never cease to emerge when caring for patients particularly in times of uncertainty.

If I were to describe her working ethos in a few words, then conscientiousness and diligence would be the first ones to come to my mind. More important and relevant is her unparalleled fairness and her belief and commitment to equality, hence her backing and encouragement of the role of women in the medical field, especially in her area of specialty, intensive care.

Fully aware of the challenges facing the NHS in the current climate, she never compromises when it comes to patient care, ensuring that the moral ethos of the NHS is always enshrined in her approach to problems. Yet, she is a staunch believer in the role of the NHS and its sustainability. In her various roles and responsibilities she has demonstrated astuteness in managing workforce planning and flexibility and resourcefulness in meeting the challenges that confront the NHS and intensive care medicine in particular. In all of that, she remains objective and understanding of circumstances and human weakness.

For all I have learned from her, I felt I owed her these words in recognition and gratitude.