My name is Anna Mulvaney.
I am an Intensivist at Middlemore Hospital. I have very recently completed my training and gained dual fellowship in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. I am currently on maternity leave following the birth of my second child.
I chose to dual train after doing a six month Intensive Care job as a junior ED trainee. I find the work challenging and interesting. The variation in cases, problem solving, procedures, team atmosphere and requirement for attention to detail were appealing to me then and continue to motivate me. As I have progressed through the training I have found the communication with patients and their families, and colleagues, while at times extremely challenging, is a very satisfying component of the work.
Training in the two specialties is a long road. However the compulsory runs make the work varied and interesting and I feel the more exposure and experience you have the better Intensivist you will become. Most Intensive Care units are consultant led, so the level of support and supervision for trainees is excellent. Intensive Care training can also be lonely at times; there are fewer trainees than in most other schemes and often just one or two sitting an exam at a particular time. This is improving with the increasing number if trainees and the development of an excellent regional teaching programme in Auckland and Waikato.
I find the advantages of Intensive Care are many. Every day brings a new challenge which is tackled in a truly team environment. We have excellent access to opinions from other specialists within the hospital and also from Intensivists at other units. Many Intensivists work part-time, with or without working in another department, and this can create a more suitable work life balance.
Ideally if you would like to train in Intensive Care you need to have excellent communication skills, an eye for attention to detail while also being able to step back and see the bigger picture. I think it is important you develop skills and techniques for healthy self-care – working in Intensive Care can be emotionally and physically draining at times. Above all you need a commitment and willingness to learn.