Discover ICM: Find your future career

Discover ICM: A Career in Intensive Care Medicine


This resource contains all the key information and links you need to consider a career in the exciting specialty of Intensive Care Medicine.

Find out:

  • Why the specialty may be for you
  • Stories from those in training
  • How training is organised
  • How to enter the specialty


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, treatment and management of acute illness.  As an intensivist you will have contact with patients from all specialties and work with a multitude of healthcare professionals throughout the hospital. ICM frequently provides outreach services, teaching and training in the management of critically unwell patients to other hospital departments. Intensivists frequently attend, assess, monitor and review deteriorating patients in the Emergency Department and other inpatient areas.


As an intensivist you will develop the ability to treat an extensive and diverse range of life-threatening conditions. Intensive care is not limited in the conditions which it accepts and this makes each day unique. It will combine diagnostic uncertainty and the intellectual challenge this brings with the ability to manage and support specific organ systems. In management of the critically unwell patient you will use;

  • Various medications such as inotropes, vasopressors and sedatives
  • Novel and developing equipment such as ventilators, renal replacement therapy and ultrasound
  • Practical skills like endotracheal intubation, chest drain insertion and central venous access
  • Various bedside assessment modalities such as echocardiography and chest ultrasound
  • Transfer skills including use of air and road transfer
  • Knowledge of patient safety, ethics and end-of-life care to support patients and their families.


Why do doctors choose to become intensivists?

When consultants and trainees were asked this question the most common reasons given were:

  • Acute nature of clinical cases
  • Practical skills
  • Variety of patients
  • Looks at the big picture
  • Instant results
  • Requires lateral thinking
  • Teamwork and multidisciplinary working
  • Role models
  • Research opportunities


How do I get started?

Click here for information on finding out who to speak to about ICM and training at Foundation and Core level.


Click here for Career Stories from doctors already in training and consultants.