Acute internal medicine
This page contains information on the specialty of acute internal medicine, one of the 18 higher specialties participating in coordinated ST3 recruitment.
Acute internal medicine (AIM) is an exciting, varied, and dynamic medical specialty, concerned with the assessment, diagnosis and management of adults presenting to secondary care with acute medical illness.
It also entails the management of busy acute medical units (AMUs) to ensure that they deliver high-quality, efficient and patient-centred care.
AIM trainee characteristics
Trainees in AIM particularly need:
- good team-player skills, including clinical leadership and change-management skills
- flexibility, adaptability and lateral thinking skills
- excellent communication skills, both spoken and written
- the ability to work (and enjoy working) under pressure.
Working in AIM
This is a hospital-based specialty, with the majority of the work involving care of medical patients around the time of admission to hospital. The spectrum of clinical problems encountered in the AMU is very wide, and this variability enables trainees to become expert in assessment, investigation, diagnosis and management across multiple disciplines.
Training concentrates not only on recognition and management of acute medical emergencies, but also on the development of ambulatory care systems, and the acquisition of skills in leadership and management of AMU as a whole.
There is also a requirement to develop an additional specialist skill (usually in the form of either a professional qualification, a procedural skill, or a research degree).
Training includes time on AMU as well as attachments in other relevant specialties, with a focus on managerial AMU experience towards the end of higher specialist training.
Focus on medical problems and ongoing care
The specialty is distinct from emergency medicine (A&E), because it focuses specifically on medical problems and includes more responsibility for ongoing care - although acute physicians do work in close collaboration with emergency medicine specialists. There is also a close relationship with critical care.
Acute internal medicine was formally recognised as a specialty in 2009, having previously been a subspecialty of general internal medicine.
It can be entered from core medical training or acute care common stem training; entry at ST3-level requires full membership of the royal college of physicians (MRCP).
- NHS medical careers - acute (internal) medicine
- SAM - society for acute medicine
- RCP (London), My specialty - acute medicine
- JRCPTB specialty page - acute medicine
- 2009 AIM curriculum (amended August 2012)
- 2013 ST3 acute internal medicine person specification
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