Rosie is the Chair of the WICM group. She is a consultant in critical care and anaesthesia at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. With WICM she aims to promote ICM as a female-friendly specialty to women in all stages of their medical training, from undergraduate level upwards.


November 2018: “Are you sure ICU is for you?”

The Women in ICM subcommittee is committed to promoting ICM as a specialty for everyone, regardless of gender. I wrote about implicit gender bias, and the unassuming but destructive ways it affects performance, in my last blog. This month, I’d like to tell you why you need to come to our one-day meeting, Critical Care without Ceilings on 6th February 2019.


Gender stereotypes and implicit gender bias affects everybody, and usually not in a good way. These biases are a product of our society, our upbringing, and the many, many subtle images and messages we receive about what an effective intensivist should look like.

Women who display traditionally female characteristics (being caring, warm, and focused on teamwork and welfare of the team) may be implicitly perceived as poor leaders[i]. Women who step outside the accepted gender norms may be negatively perceived as bossy, cold and hostile[ii].

Men who don’t match up to the ‘agentic’ male stereotype (authoritative, confident, dominant, in control) may similarly be perceived as disproportionately ineffectual. Futhermore, men who do live up to this stereotype are disproportionately penalised for asking for help and are seen as less proficient as a result[iii].


WICM wants to bust these stereotypes and get the message out there that ICM is and should be for everyone. The only requirement is that you are proficient enough to practice it effectively (although beware of implicit bias in feedback on proficiency!).


To be human is to be biased – so it’s all of us!

Our one day meeting will be of value to anyone who: supervises trainees and may have concerns about what specialties are open to them, manages colleagues and may feel they occasionally struggle with workplace behaviours and how these behaviours are perceived, worries that they may have implicit biases that impair their own perceptions of themselves or others and anyone who feels that they have to spend a lot of energy at work being a slightly different version of themselves in order to better fit the mould of the ideal intensivist.

In short – our meeting is for everyone in ICM. The amazing speakers we have lined up will talk to us about the value of bias, succeeding as an introvert, maintaining your boundaries, leading with authenticity and dealing with failure. You will also get the chance to train as a mentor, and later join with us to set up a nationwide network of mentors in ICM.

Details of the programme and the booking link are below. We look forward to meeting you there!



WICM 2019 Meeting: Critical Care Without Ceilings


To book a place on this event click here. You will be taken to the event online booking system where you simply log in or register to complete the booking process.


[i] Kolehmainen C, Brennan M, Filut A, Isaac C, Carnes M. Afraid of being Witch with a B. A qualitative study of how gender influenced residents’ experience leading cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Academic Medicine 2014 September: 89(9): 1276-1281

[ii] Eagly AH, Karau SJ. Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review 2002  109(3): 573-598

[iii] Rosette AS, Mueller JS, Lebel RD. Are male leaders penalised for seeking help? The influence of gender and asking behaviours of competence perceptions. The Leadership Quarterly 2015 Apri;l 26: 749-762