Although small in comparison to the system based specialties, ID provides the opportunity of having a career ranging from challenging and constantly varied clinical management, to intellectually stimulating frontier research into diseases of worldwide importance.
Infectious Diseases is very much a hands-on speciality where patient contact is imperative in helping to make the diagnosis. There is a huge variety in the cases that you will see as a Registrar, making your days highly varied, interesting and occasionally exciting. Given this variety, there are a large number of specific areas on which you will be able to focus for possible future research projects and also areas of interest as you progress through your training. As an Infectious Diseases Registrar, you will spend time on the wards, the consult service and in clinic. You don’t have to have travelled or worked abroad to consider a career in Infectious Diseases. You do, however, have to have an interest organisms as well as people, and develop knowledge of microbiology and how the lab and the processing of samples takes place.
The Infectious Diseases wards can have patients admitted with common infections such as cellulitis and pneumonia, to more unusual cases such as TB (including multi-drug resistant cases), HIV, tropical infections including malaria, leptospirosis, typhoid, and the acute and ongoing daily management of such patients is imperative for enhancing your knowledge of Infectious Diseases.
The Infectious Diseases consult service is an ever expanding service given the increasing numbers of complicated surgeries conducted, together with increasing foreign travel, an ageing population and increasing antibiotic resistance rates. The Infectious Diseases team work closely with Microbiology when managing such patients, which is essential when determining specimen collection, processing and interpretation of results. The range of problems seen by the consult service is vast, ranging from endocarditis, Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia, bone and joint infection, to name just a few. Your role will involve interaction with various specialities when their patients have an infection issue, providing expertise on the management aiming to aid identification of the source of infection, optimal antibiotic choice and optimal duration of therapy. You will also provide a link to the Outpatient Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) nurses with whom you will work closely, ensuring prompt discharge of patients who are well enough to be managed in the community.
As part of the consult service, you will link with GPs in the community, providing travel advice, answers to general infection questions and accepting referrals when appropriate.
There are also a range of Infectious Diseases clinics, which you will be able to gain experience in throughout your years of training. These consist of general ID, TB, HIV (with ID and GUM Consultants), Hepatitis (with ID and Gastroenterology Consultants), bone infection and Out patient antibiotic therapy clinics.
Through the daily review of infection patients, understanding their long-term management and following them up in clinic, you will be provided with excellent first-hand Infectious Diseases experience and knowledge which will form the basis of your continued development in this speciality.