Discover ICM: Find your future career

Published 03/12/2021

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 lifethreatening 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 the 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.