After nearly two weeks at my new hospital, I’m starting to bed down a bit and find my groove now. I’m working as an intensive care registrar and, as you can probably imagine, the responsibility that my new job involves is huge. Out of hours, I am effectively the most senior person in charge of looking after the sickest people in the hospital, which effectively means that responsibility for the lives of the sickest people in the whole city rests on my shoulders.
On my first day, one of the consultants walked all the new doctors around the intensive care unit (ICU) in order to give us a bit of a flavour of the sort of patients we’ll have to look after. At first, I was just a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of the ICU. There are about 40 or so critical care beds and the variety of illnesses that the patients have is also huge. There are the usual patients with sepsis, multi-organ failure etc, but there are also patients who are post-transplant surgery, and there are those with head injuries, conditions I’d never looked after before.
Starting a new job is always daunting, but I think I’ve settled into it surprisingly quickly. For the first few days, my main emotion was “Oh shit, I don’t know what to do,” but I’m getting over that. I’m realising that actually, the majority of the time, I do know what to do and on the occasions when I genuinely have no idea, there are always people around who can help me out.
As a result, I’m actually starting to enjoy working in intensive care. I admit that I was dubious about it at first, but I’m finding that I like dealing with sick people, I like making an intervention, starting a treatment and seeing people respond to it, and (hopefully) start to get better. It also gives me the feeling that I’m actually being really useful, that I’m able to help out and to make an immediate difference to the patients. I will confess that once the patients are stabilised on the ICU, I still find the slow progression of their treatment really frustrating, but like all jobs, you have to take the rough with the smooth.
All in all, while the step up from anaesthetic SHO to anaesthetic registrar is undoubtedly a huge one, I think I’m coping with the transition quite well. Maybe, just maybe I was ready for the step after all, despite my previous doubts.