Ruby's career story

What do you do? and what is a typical week for you?

My name is Ruby Viney and I am one of the Acute Medicine registrars in the Mersey Deanery, rotating through the hospitals within the area including LUHFT. I train less than full time and currently work 70% of the rota so I tend to be in work Monday to Wednesday each week unless I am on call. During a typical week I lead ward rounds in the morning with the junior doctors who are either undertaking their acute medicine block or are on their 'hotblock' week in the department. Together we see the patients who had come into hospital in the past 24-48 hours and aim to progress them towards discharge or work with the specialty teams to investigate and treat them until a bed became available on the appropriate ward. My afternoons are often spent in the GP assessment unit seeing referrals from our GP colleagues, or on the ambulatory care unit where the aim is to provide same day emergency care and facilitate rapid discharges.

Part of my role is to support juniors in procedural skill competencies and often supervise trainees carrying out procedures on the ward such as lumbar punctures and ascitic drains. There is often interdepartmental teaching which the team is encouraged to attend.

As the acute medicine registrar in the Royal I also managed the departmental rota for the junior doctors and ANPs so some time each week would be spent working on this.

All acute medicine trainees are required to have a specialist skill or interest and for me this is Psychiatry. When my timetable allows, I would spend an afternoon out of the department to work with the hospital psychiatrist within the mental health liaison team gaining further experience in this area to develop this interest.

What qualifications and experience do you have? 

I completed my medical degree in the University of East Anglia in 2012 and have worked in Liverpool since. I have completed my membership exams (MRCP) and am working towards the acute medicine specialty exam.

In addition, I am in the final year of the MSc Psychiatry at Cardiff University (distance learning) and hope to complete my dissertation in the summer.

I also enjoy teaching and hold an honorary lecturer role at Liverpool University - this involves writing and delivering lectures in person and online, or facilitating group learning sessions within the medical school.

Outside of work, I love to learn new skills completely unrelated to medicine and my most recent achievement is level 2 in British Sign Language. 

What’s the most interesting aspect of your job? 

The most interesting aspect of my job is when I am able to use my skills in medicine and psychiatry to manage patients who have both physical and psychiatric ailments. The interplay between the mind and body has always fascinated me and I think there is a real gap in medical training regarding this. If anyone wants to develop their understanding in this area I thoroughly recommend the incredible book "It's All In Your Head" by consultant neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking a career in Acute Medicine? 

I love the specialty and recommend it to anyone who wants to continue seeing a huge variety of presentations, not limited to one specific organ or system. The training encourages you to continue to develop a specific area of interest and allows the required time to explore this. My one piece of advice would be to spend time considering what really interests you before deciding, and what you could continue to develop throughout your career to progress the specialty. Acute Medicine is a highly innovative specialty and is evolving rapidly to target some of the challenges faced by the NHS today so consider where you might fit into that.

My second piece of advice (sorry, I'm breaking the rules here giving two) is not to forget about the parts of your life outside of medicine. You are more than a doctor so keep in touch with friends, start a family if you want to, keep up with hobbies or start brand new ones!


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