Working in Respiratory Medicine

Working in Respiratory Medicine

Jun 21, 2022.

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in Respiratory Medicine?

Respiratory Medicine is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and continuous care of patients with respiratory and related conditions. A diverse specialty, it brings together elements to so many other specialties including: infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, palliative care and sports medicine. You will also find that the field of Respiratory Medicine involves a wide range of Healthcare Professionals within each subspecialty, including respiratory physicians, oncologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, specialist nurses, physiologists, physiotherapists, dietitians, smoking cessation advisers and psychologists.

To find out more about working in Respiratory Medicine, please take a look at our blog.

According to The British Lung Foundation, surveys of the general population suggest that approximately 12.7 million people in the UK (approximately 1 in 5) have a history of asthma, COPD or another longstanding respiratory illness. Half of these (about 6.5 million people) report taking prescribed medication for lung disease in the last year. And, in light of the continued threat of Covid-19 and the impact it can have on those living with respiratory related illnesses, it is more important than ever that this area of medicine has the Healthcare Professionals it needs for both care and research.

Training and working in Respiratory Medicine

If you want to train and work in respiratory medicine, take a look at the following key facts from the Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) for Respiratory Medicine:

– As a respiratory trainee, you will have already trained in internal medicine and completed your training with a CCT (certificate of completion of training) in your chosen specialties alongside any additional experience and training

– Training programmes include placements in (general and teaching) hospitals as well as a 3-4 month placement in an intensive care unit and attachments to highly specialised teams treating patients with cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and lung transplants

– Becoming skilled in bronchoscopy and pleural ultrasound, together with the use of non-invasive ventilation to treat respiratory failure is an essential part of your training

– There is a flexible curriculum that you can adapt to accommodate less than full-time training (LTFT and academia)

– Respiratory Physicians care for the whole patient, not just one organ system

For more information of the training pathway, please visit the: Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board.

A varied role

Working as a Respiratory Physician offers a lot of variety in where you work – from acute hospitals, day centres, and outpatient clinics, to community clinics, tertiary centres or from the patient’s own home. Delivering that care could present in a variety of ways too, from airway emergencies to chronic care of patients over many years. You’ll could also take on some research opportunities, including the chance to work with stem cells and immunotherapy, genomics, pleural procedures, and breathlessness interventions as well as be part of quality improvement initiatives and taking on education / training roles.

Skills for Becoming a Respiratory Physician

Alongside the usual, essential skills – compassion, emotional resilience and the dedication and desire to achieve the best outcome for your patients – you’ll find that some areas of Respiratory Medicine may suit you better than others. For example, bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound and thoracoscopy is great for those who are practically minded due to the level of clearly defined research required. For those interested in imaging and diagnostic challenges, interstitial lung disease (ILD) is ideal and if your priority is connecting with patients, caring for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could be very rewarding.

Next steps

We hope our blog has been helping when it comes to training and working in Respiratory Medicine and if you’re planning on undertaking any required study whilst working, please get in touch. Our specialist Recruitment Consultants can help you find roles and shifts that fit around your study needs, with 1-2-1 support and guidance at every step of the way.