My Stage 2 training will come to an end in August 2017; it’s been a busy two year period. Things haven’t worked out as planned but they worked out well nevertheless.
My plans of an out of programme training experience in Canada failed due to logistic reasons (not related to the training programme I must say); instead I stayed here in Manchester. I’ve completed my specialist skill year which happened to be in respiratory, cardiology and care of the elderly medicine and I’m now training in my ICU specialties: NICU, PICU & CICU.
All exams are a success, both FFICM and Acute Medicine SCE, which is a big relief. A word of advice; get them done early and clear the way to develop your skills on how to become a consultant. Soon after the exams, I completed the leadership in practice course, which was a very useful exercise. I also had the chance during my respiratory job to get level 1 Chest USS accreditation. It wasn’t easy but when there’s a will there’s a way. I’m now working on my FICE accreditation, and might consider CUSIC.
I have passed through different countries & different training programs throughout my training so far. I graduated from University of Baghdad, Iraq, times were difficult back home, and I had to spend a good part of my senior year in Kurdistan which meant I had to learn Kurdish! Following graduation I relocated with my family to Dubai, UAE, and underwent a year of internship there which is basically an FY1 job in UK training terms.
Life took me to Beirut – Lebanon and I joined the American University of Beirut Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Training Program for three years, and that’s where I started to become interested in Intensive Care and acutely unwell patients. The training program there follows an American style whereby Critical Care is coupled with Pulmonary Medicine, that was the bit that didn’t intrigue me much.
I decided to tackle the MRCP. Exams were a success and the GMC registration soon followed. I applied for my Intensive Care number in 2012 when it first became a standalone specialty, as soon as I joined the training I knew that this is what I want to do day in day out but maybe add in a bit more Medicine. I applied for my Acute Medical number the following round in 2013 and now I’m on the dual training track for both ICM & AIM.
I started my Intensive Care registrar job in Anaesthesia, which as a medic it did seem an out of body experience at first but I soon caught up and got used to it. I enjoyed learning the practical skills and developing my situational awareness. A year of general Intensive Care came afterwards and then I was handed over to Acute Medicine to complete my stage one training.
I consider myself lucky to be able to train in both ICM & AIM as it allows me to experience a spectrum of illness from the stable but chronically ill to the extremely unstable acutely ill patient. I like to be kept on my toes yet have some less intense time at work and this combination does it for me.
Being passionate about saving lives, I volunteer to teach BLS with the British Red Cross, I do try to keep regular sessions teaching in the community – rota permitting of course. I’m also faculty for the IMPACT course teaching acute illness and practical producers. A big part of both jobs is communication with patients, families and colleagues; it’s a skill that I’ll continue to learn 2 throughout my career. The best way to learn, they say, is to teach and so I started last year to tutor communications skills to medical students. I have always found teaching an enjoyable domain.
I feel privileged to be training in the North West; directors, advisors, tutors and trainers are all accommodating, approachable and really try to make your life easy.
Finally, I really think the combination works. ICM & AIM complement one another and provide a good balance in the nature of clinical encounters that one would come across. A patient’s journey may well start on MAU carry on to ICU and then back to the community.
So put your applications in and join the ranks of dual trainees, there is plenty to choose from and certainly plenty to do with your careers.