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'Enthusiasm, passion and problem-solving skills' – have these qualities? Why not consider a career in acute internal medicine

We recently caught up with Dr Lliwen Jones, an acute internal medicine (AIM) trainee, who shared her experience as the first Welsh TakeAIM fellow raising awareness of career opportunities in the specialty.

Originally from Denbigh, Lliwen began her career as a medical student in Cardiff, graduating in 2012 and going on to complete her foundation training; “I loved all things medicine throughout my foundation years which made core medical training a natural career choice.

“I was fortunate to enjoy several neurology rotations and completed a year of neurology training as an ST3 during which I realised that I really enjoyed the front door as well as all aspects of general medicine and wanted to pursue this interest. This in turn led to the start of my career as an acute physician and I remain passionately interested in stroke medicine and acute neurology. I hope to combine these interests as a consultant and am currently undertaking a year of training as a stroke fellow.”

When choosing where to train in acute internal medicine, Wales was a natural choice for Lliwen; “The training programme in Wales is delivered by passionate and dynamic individuals. I was introduced to the current trainee group before applying and was impressed by how welcome I was made to feel and by how supportive the trainees are of each other.

“The teaching is exceptional, and we enjoy a week every year of ‘summer school’ which offers unparalleled opportunities for learning and socialising with other trainees. The options within the programme to pursue a specialist skill and the specialty rotations in tertiary cardiology and critical care offer an excellent training experience.”

Like all healthcare professionals, Lliwen has faced a lot of new challenges this year having to adapt quickly in response to Covid-19; “I had just started my six month ITU rotation in the University Hospital of Wales when the Covid-19 pandemic came to the UK. Having completed a rotation on the same unit during my core medical training, Covid-19 offered different learning opportunities and challenges. We had to learn about a new condition and keep on top of the rapidly evolving research, treatments and subsequent evidence base.

“It was refreshing to witness the speed with which clinician-driven change occurred as the unit adapted to accommodate the increase in demand for critical care. Working for prolonged periods in full PPE was also a new experience! In terms of the formal education programme, unfortunately our annual study week has been postponed but the Specialty Training Committee (STC) and Welsh Acute Physician’s Society (WAPS) are working together to develop virtual and socially distanced training events. The WAPS symposium took place as a webinar in early July this year and was a great opportunity to catch up with fellow acute medics, share experiences and be educated!“

So, what is TakeAIM?

“TakeAIM is a group of acute medicine trainees from all over the UK with a united goal to promote the specialty. This takes the form of regional sessions with talks on acute medicine, teaching sessions and most importantly free pizza! There is also an annual conference organised by the fellows and we attend university and hospital careers fairs too. I applied for the role during the last recruitment round and was delighted to become the first formal TakeAIM fellow to represent Wales.”

If Lliwen’s sparked your interest in a career in acute internal medicine, here’s your final push:

“Go for it! It's an amazing specialty and I have absolutely loved my training so far. There is a broad range of specialist skills which makes AIM an exciting speciality in which you can really individualise your training and ultimate consultant job.”

Find out more about the acute internal medicine training programme in Wales and about the TakeAim campaign.