A career in...
A placement in intensive care
An intensive care unit can be an intimidating place
- By: Sarah Greenaway, Lawrence Tham
Intensive or critical care is a vital service for a hospital’s sickest patients. The intensive care unit, also known as the intensive therapy unit, provides the modern technology and expertise to support a patient’s failing organ systems until the patient shows some recovery towards their premorbid state. Specialists in intensive care medicine are skilled at applying physiology and pharmacology to the management of their critically ill patients. They also have to have proficiency at complex practical procedures. These intensivists have undergone a rigorous and advanced level of training in medicine and anaesthesia; indeed, they may even be considered a “superspecialist.”1
But in the face of all this expertise, is there a place for medical students in this specialty?
As a medical student, a placement in an intensive care unit is often a daunting prospect. None of the machines are familiar, there are dozens of indwelling lines forming a complicated network