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Acute Medicine in the NHS

  • October 19, 2022

Acute Medicine in the NHS

There are currently a huge number of Acute Medicine vacancies in the NHS with teams welcoming international and UK-based doctors. Rarely seen as a specialism of its own outside of the NHS, it is a fast growing and exciting specialism that you need to know about. This article aims to explain what Acute Medicine in the NHS looks like and why it is a great career choice.

What is Acute Medicine?

Acute Medicine is the interface between the Emergency Department and all other sub-specialties of Internal Medicine. It is an inherently multidisciplinary sub-specialty where doctors treat patients across the breadth of internal medicine, in an Acute inpatient setting.

According to the BMJ:

“An acute internal medicine (AIM) doctor provides care for patients with conditions characterised by rapid onset, severe symptoms, of life-threatening nature. They assess, investigate, and diagnose these conditions and treat the patients for up to 72 hours after their admission to the hospital, after which the patient is either allowed to return home or referred to another specialist. AIM doctors jobs may also include managing outpatients in ambulatory care or in outpatient clinics.

AIM doctors are presented with a wide spectrum of conditions every day and treat patients of all ages, and thus need to be skilled in a wide range of procedures and have sound knowledge and understanding of all medical specialties.”

What makes a good Acute Medicine doctor?

As Acute Medicine is such a multidisciplinary specialism, having experience across many different medical sub-specialties can contribute to the profile of a great Acute Medical doctor. Doctors can have recent experience in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Medical Intensive Care, or any Internal Medicine sub-specialties (e.g. Respiratory, Cardiology, Stroke, etc.). This means it’s a viable option for doctors from a wide range of backgrounds.

As Acute Medicine is focussed on Acute Medical emergencies, experience of on-calls, night shifts, being part of the code blue team and holding the cardiac crash bleep are all valuable assets to an Acute Medicine doctor’s skillset. This is solidified by having completed life support courses such as Advanced Life support (ALS, UK Resuscitation Council) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS, American Heart Association).

Good communication skills are also key as Acute Medical doctors are expected to liaise with many different teams in the hospital as patients are transferred through the Emergency Department, the Acute Medical Unit and all other Medical sub-specialties.

Why Acute Medicine is the specialism for you?

Huge numbers of international medical graduates are opting to start their NHS careers in Acute Medicine in the NHS – and for good reason! It’s very accessible as overseas Internal Medicine experience lends itself well to Acute Medicine in the NHS. There are a great many prospects for a doctor joining in Acute Medicine.

The skills you learn in the Acute Medical Unit can be invaluable when building your portfolio for training or a CESR application. Further, it’s an excellent way to learn how Medicine in the NHS works across all medical sub-specialties and this can be helpful in later deciding which sub-specialty you would like to do training or CESR in.

Here’s what some of our recent placements had to say?

“Acute Medicine is an exciting specialty where no two shifts are the same. Almost every case we come across is a mystery to solve. And for people who like to work with their hands it’s so suitable as you get to perform a variety of procedures. I definitely recommend a career in Acute Medicine for anyone who asks” – Dr Hassan, Acute Medicine Doctor

“As an IMG, I would like to say, everyone should start their beginning job as a Registrar of Acute Medicine. It’s easier to familiarize with NHS. It’s also helpful to build up portfolio. Once you understand the system, you can join your desired specialty as a Trust Grade Registrar. The one thing , I would like to say, it is not easy  to get the specialty training straightway. Whatever your specialty, in interview they will ask you some questions which you can confidently answer if are involved yourself in Acute Medicine and Ambulatory. If you ask IMG specialty trainee registrars in demandable subspeciality working in NHS, most of them need to start their career in acute medicine. After that, they switched to other specialty.” – Dr Islam, Rheumatology Trainee


If the above sounds interesting and you think your experience would be well suited to a career in Acute Medicine then our team would be happy to help you with career guidance, CV creation, interview preparation and job search. You can contact us on all social media channels or via [email protected] and our jobs are listed here 


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