My name is Dan, and I am currently working at the University Hospital for Wales. This is a large tertiary unit with a Neurosurgical unit and recently has become a Major Trauma Centre. I first wrote about my career for the college whilst I was on a Critical Care rotation as a foundation doctor, now I am four years on!
I knew early on that I wanted to specialise in Critical Care. Following a lot of advice, I came into Intensive Care via the ACCS Anaesthetics route. For those who want a career in Critical Care this is also the route I would advise too! There have been a lot of advantages. Firstly, coming onto the registrar rota I feel the most prepared at my level with airway skills. Secondly, the experience that I have gained in Medicine and Emergency Medicine, which all count towards your time in training in Critical Care. Finally, even though the exam was incredibly tough via this route it has prepared me well in terms of confidence as a registrar.
Currently, I am very happy to say, I hold a training post offer to start in August with FICM. This year I took a year out to undertake a Research Fellow Post in my department. This has been an amazing opportunity. I have had the chance to set up a medical device trial and complete the Associate Primary Investigator Role. Alongside this I have stepped up to the registrar rota clinically. Taking this time out has massively enhanced my career without the pressures of being in training and clinically I feel more than prepared to start as a FICM trainee.
COVID hit during my time as a core trainee. I was already on my Critical Care rotation and oddly being part of Critical Care during the pandemic reinforced my career aims. It was tough, but I learnt a lot and will take all this experience with me. Overall, I was working in Critical Care for each of the peaks in the pandemic. They became more tough as they went along. The initial challenges of the first pandemic were around not knowing clinically what was best. However, the later peaks became more tough with dwindling support, resources and public backing. I think it is important to point out though, that even though it was tough on the medical side, I think the Critical Care nurses had the hardest job!
The hardest part I find being in Critical Care is the rota and workload. This varies on jobs though. Most of my shifts currently are long days with frequent nights. However, this does mean less overall less days in work. This changes on my next job. Even when I do find it tough, I do remind myself that every registrar workload and rota is tough in its own way in all specialties. The challenges are the post COVID workload and the amount of hours we work, wherever you work clinically! It works for me, but I just make the most of my time off when I get it.
Overall, Critical Care Medicine is for me. The speciality covers all over specialties and from my point of view the interesting parts of them. I have even had interesting Dermatology emergencies this year! I like that we treat each organ system, and we aren’t focused on just one system. The main thing I like, and I know it’s not for everyone, is that one moment you are slowly debating a small decision on ward round, then seconds later you’re called to run a major haemorrhage. It is a speciality that will always keep you interested and on your toes!