Working life (RM)

This page provides useful information about the roles and responsibilities of doctors in rehabilitation medicine, where they work, who they work with and what they feel about their role.

A rehabilitation medicine physician is an important part of the multidisciplinary team focused on assisting the patient and their family through times of adjustment.  They are likely to be responsible for the team’s activities in hospital settings.  Using a coordinated approach the team uses their expertise managing physical, psychological and behavioural problems associated with both acute and chronic illnesses. I was attracted by the unique privilege in rehabilitation medicine to be part of an amazing team that guides the patient through their ‘patient journey’ from first meeting in the acute hospital to their stay on a rehabilitation ward and then the transition back to the community. Rarely in clinical medicine do doctors have this opportunity. - Specialty trainee

Rehabilitation medicine specialists work in a variety of settings including neurological rehabilitation centres for the most complex cases, stroke units, other wards (including pre-amputation) and multidisciplinary outpatient services. The rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries takes place in supra-regional centres. RM has a central role in the management of patients within the major trauma networks.

How your time is spent

The specialty involves variety and flexibility in daily and weekly work patterns.  Individual consultant job plans often focus on one or two main areas of work, such as:

Depending on the individual’s specific role, a working day might include:

Rehabilitation specialists also provide services for specific groups such as young disabled adults, adults with learning disabilities complicated by physical impairments and patients with muscular dystrophies, movement disorders or chronic fatigue syndrome.

On-call and working hours

Rehabilitation is provided in many settings. Although few consultants in rehabilitation medicine are involved in unselected “emergency take” rotas, those working in acute or post-acute hospital-based  settings are generally required to provide on-call and or seven-day working alongside the other medical teams. However, some consultants are based on non-acute or community settings where the consultant’s job plan may be based around a more standard working week pattern.

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