Intensive Care Medicine Training in Northern Queensland

When I finished med school I had a pretty
good idea that I liked areas such as emergency and intensive care. I did a 3 month ICU rotation and I just fell
in love. My first shift was absolute chaos and there
was some really sick people and it was quite sink or swim and I actually found I really
liked that. To pursue a career in intensive care, one
of the first steps is to get broad experience then secure 6 months in intensive care. The program itself consists then of completing
12 months of medicine, 12 months of anaesthetics, 24 months of advanced training in intensive
care. A Queensland ICU pathway is quite unique so
they’ve got an organised system to actually look after trainees and kind of support them
through their training. There’s multiple requirements you need to
tick off along the way when you are doing intensive care training for example you need
to get experience in other specialties so the benefit of being up here is how supportive
they are and they have arranged those requirements for me. There’s not many places where you can get
a combination of cardiac surgery, neuro surgery, obstetric patients such a high proportion
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Where we are in North Queensland lends itself
to quite an interesting case mix so we get tropical diseases, all things weird and wonderful. Trainees can complete all of their components
in the north, anaesthetics medicine component, emergency medicine component including retrievals. I will be on call for admitting patients to
the ICU so that will involve receiving phone calls from doctors anywhere all over the region
and that will be sometimes just for phone advice or sometimes it’s for a bit more
than that and they might need to transfer the patient over to us. So if I was at a bigger hospital I wouldn’t
be getting the opportunity for the independence I’ve had for the opportunity to kind of step
up and do those on call shifts, so I definitely think it’s helped me grow a lot quicker. One of the benefits lifestyle wise of living
in North Queensland is I drive 10 minutes from home to work every day or it’s an easy
cycle along the river. My initial intention was actually to move
to the North Queensland for one year and then I thought I would move on and its three years
later and I’m still here so clearly enjoying myself. I’ve got a 6 month old puppy who has a lot
of energy so we go for runs/walks most days otherwise we just bought a small sailing catamaran
my partner and I, we’re teaching ourselves how to sail out on the waters off the coast. Climbing up Castle Hill, that view over Magnetic
Island and Cape Cleveland and the bay just really brings calm I think to the soul. 6 months into my time here when I was still
quite a junior registrar, I was on night shift and in the middle of the night we had quite
a young woman who had a cardiac arrest on the ward, in the middle of the night you don’t
have consultants around so it is just you and the other registrar you are on with and
so we were working on our own basically. We managed to successfully resuscitate her,
got her back alive essentially and then over a period of a few days she completely woke
up and had absolutely no deficits as a result of that happening, which I think is a pretty
amazing part of what I do. We get to have people at the sickest they
ever are and that we can bring them back to normal.

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