Tae Lee's Career Story
What do you do? And what is a typical week for you?
I am a ST5 Dual Anaesthetics and Intensive Care trainee. This means my training years are spent every year or two alternatively in my respective specialities, with this year being my intensive care year at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
There is no typical working week as it’s varies with on calls, which I like. On average I do nights and weekends once every three weeks. This means that I do get lots of off days in between and plenty of opportunity to book my study leaves and supported professional activity days.
A typical day would start at 0800 at the team handover, where the night team go through the patients including sick patients being referred from the wards or ED. The consultant ward rounds start soon after, where each doctor is given the responsibility of a small number of patients to do the daily assessments and present on the ward round. There are plenty of opportunities to receive teaching from the consultants during the rounds who are very happy to teach and support trainees. The junior doctors team are fantastic mix of IMTs, clinical fellows, foundation years, microbiology, as well as anaesthetists and intensive care trainees.
From lunchtime onwards, junior doctors collate, divide and conquer the jobs to do. This involves learning and eventually performing practical invasive procedures such as central lines, as well as developing ultrasound skills. Doctors also have the opportunity of holding the referral bleep where they can develop the skills of taking referrals, assessing and talking through management plans with senior input and supervision.
A normal day shift finishes at 1800, whilst long days finish with the 2000 handover to night colleagues. Working in intensive care is unique. Most ITU departments will manage the rotas in house by a dedicated consultant or senior trainee, which make it easier to troubleshoot issues. It is also very social as you get to work closely with many different specialities who provide a lot of input and advice. Finally opportunities are aplenty with support, scope and time for a junior doctor to develop knowledge and skills in other areas such as quality improvement, teaching and practical skills such as ultrasound.
What qualifications and experience do you have?
- MBChB at the University of Bristol (2014), Intercalated BSc (Hons) in Anatomical Sciences - I wanted to be a surgeon back then!
- Foundation Years in Oxford Deanery - worked in unique placements such as public health and paediatric surgery.
- Break from training and spent nine months as an ITU clinical fellow at Nottingham. This triggered my desire to work in a career in anaesthetics and intensive care.
- Completed my Final FRCA anaesthetics examinations in 2021.
- Resuscitation experience - ATLS and APLS certified, and currently instruct on ALS coruses.
- Teaching experience - Associate Clinical Teacher at the University of Liverpool.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
Acuity. I enjoy the challenge of working closely with colleagues from many different specialties in managing together acutely unwell patients. It is a speciality that is very much team orientated, practical (procedures involving invasive lines, tracheostomy insertion) and requires constant application of physiology and pharmacology knowledge.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking a career in intensive care?
Plan early and seek to gain intensive care experience locally as well as looking at courses/resources nationally. This will prepare you for whether you would like to work in a career in intensive care, as well as prepare for applications for training posts.
Locally this would mean arranging taster days or week on the ITU where you can witness first-hand what it is like to work in our environment.
Regionally, there is a Mersey Introduction to Critical Care course which is very popular and well received (Dr Simon Rogers is head of course - firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are national resources on the FICM website that give stories and insight in terms of life as a trainee, called Trainee Stories (https://www.ficm.ac.uk/careersworkforcecareershub/career-stories).
For planning an application for a training post, the national recruitment website has everything you need - https://icmnro.wm.hee.nhs.uk/ .
My contact details
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