A Paediatric Intensivist is a Paediatrician specialised in the Intensive Care of children and infants who are seriously ill or require a high level of close monitoring in an hospital specialised in-patient unit.
Depending upon the particular institution, the patients cared for may include those with traumatic injury, respiratory failure, septic shock, neurological emergencies such as seizures, cardiac failure, cardiac surgery or organ transplantation. In many cases, care is provided in concert with other specialists and the Intensivist serves as the overall coordinating physician.
Some Intensivists may supervise the care of those children who require chronic care or provide procedural sedation services. Paediatric Critical Care Medicine physicians frequently perform procedures, including intubation and placement of indwelling vascular catheters.
Paediatric Intensivist Roles
Paediatric Intensivist roles are all hospital based and generally exist in the larger and more specialised hospitals. Many institutions have separate medical (PICU) and cardiovascular intensive care units (Cardiac ICU), the latter being an area for infants and children with cardiac dysfunction or preparing for or recovering from cardiac surgery. Cardiac ICUs may be staffed by Pediatric Intensivists who have had additional training in Cardiology.
Most positions in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, are affiliated with academic institutions, typically university departments and postgraduate training programmes. However, the larger hospitals in the private sector also have paediatric intensive care facilities.
Salaries tend to be in the higher range of those offered for the Paediatric subspecialities. Working patterns may be those of a standard working week with on call duties or part of a shift system and vary considerably depending upon the institution.
Paediatric Intensivist Candidates
Candidates for Paediatric Intensivist roles are specialised Paediatricians who have undertaken additional fellowship or subspecialist training in Paediatric Intensive Care, usually gaining an additional qualification or specialist board certificate in this field.
In some countries, trained Anaesthetists and Intensivists undertake additional Paediatric training to enable them to work in Paediatric Intensive Care.
Top qualifications in this field include the American Board of Pediatrics Sub-board of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. In order to be eligible to take this exam, applicants must first be certified in General Pediatrics. The United Kingdom has a Certificate of Specialist Training (CCT) in Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine which is open to paediatricians and intensivists via the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (FICM).