Intensive care medicine

Doctors working in intensive care medicine (ICM) manage critically ill patients with, at risk of, or recovering from, potentially life-threatening failure of any of the body’s organ systems.

This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions, sub-specialties and other roles that may interest you.

Doctors in hospital

Nature of the work

Doctors in this specialty (also called critical care medicine) are involved in all aspects of care of the critically ill. This includes providing organ system support and the investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of acute illness. It also includes systems management and patient safety, ethics, end-of-life care and the support of families.

As an intensivist or trainee in ICM you will help to treat various conditions, including:

Common procedures/interventions

These include:


Trainees who are training in ICM as a single specialty will have the opportunity to develop a ‘special skill’ or interest during their training. The ICM curriculum currently includes the following ‘special skills’ years*:

* It is that expected that additional options will be available in the future as the specialty develops.

Many intensivists are ‘dual trained’ in ICM along with one of ICM’s partner specialties. Common partner specialties include anaesthesia, acute internal medicine, emergency medicine, renal medicine and respiratory medicine. Those consultants who are ‘dual trainees’ often work in both specialties: the proportion of time spent in each of the specialties is very variable and is based both on an individual consultant’s preference, and/or service requirements.

Want to learn more?

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Other roles that may interest you

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