Choosing a career in ICM


What is Intensive Care Medicine?

ICM specialists (intensivists) are involved in all aspects of care of the critically ill.

Intensivists provide organ system support along with the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of acute illness.

Intensivists are very involved with patient safety, ethics, end-of-life care and the support of families.


As an intensivist or trainee in ICM you will help to treat various conditions, including:

  • heart and cardiovascular failure
  • renal (kidney) failure
  • liver failure
  • patients with reduced levels of consciousness or neurological impairment (including weakness)
  • gastrointestinal failure
  • respiratory failure
  • sepsis - a serious immune system reaction triggered by infection
  • patients with severe trauma
  • acute intoxications and poisoning
  • patients recovering from major surgery
  • maternal complications around the time of birth

Assessment, monitoring and review of patients with or at risk of developing critical illness

Organ support in critically ill:

  • use of drugs to support the heart & CVS (inotropes and vasopressors)
  • mechanical ventilation
  • invasive monitoring 
  • endotracheal intubation
  • measurement of cardiac (heart) output
  • renal (kidney) support using haemodialysis or haemofiltration

Transfer of critically ill patients

A day in the life of an Intensivist
Interested to learn more about the role of an Intensivist within the Hospital, Click here for a day in the life of an Intensivist summary



       How do I get started?

The following people will be able to give you advice about a career in ICM;

  • Intensive care consultants and trainees 
  • Faculty Tutors in ICM: Find your local FT - there will be one in your hospital
  • Regional Advisors: Find your local RA
  • Trust and Deanery Careers Leads 
  • Foundation Programme Directors and Tutors

Ask as many people as you like, get their opinions, but explore yourself, and your likes and dislikes at work as well.

Remember, it's your career, and only you know what you want to do!