Dr Stephen Warrilow is the director of ICU at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Dr Warrilow discovered his passion for ICU after a stint at Bendigo during his junior doctor years. He was particularly fascinated with the “breadth of practice” ICU offered, not focusing on a single organ system but instead looking after complex medical and post-operative patients. It also allowed him to stay in touch with his procedural side, work in a “team-based approach” and see the effects of his decisions in “real time”.

Stephen splits his time between clinical and administrative work. His typical day starts at around 8, and finishes anywhere between 6 and 10 depending on whether he’s on call. Listen in as he describes his intensive (eyy) experience in the Medical Retrieval Withdrawal service as a junior physician. Dr Warrilow also commits his time to a variety of non-clinical work, including administration, research, teaching and clinical governance in his role as director. As he advanced throughout his career, he recognised the importance of these non-clinical aspects of medicine and has striven to ensure that his unit and hospital runs smoothly and effectively.

Dr Warrilow also recognises the challenges of ICU, ranging from the lack of contunuity of care to working long hours and on call. This predisposes graduates to a high risk of burnout. However, he has some fantastic advice regarding how to choose a career that is in line with our personal values. We also discuss the competition surrounding ICU positions and how to have difficult conversations with patients and their families.

Outside of medicine, Dr Warrilow pursues several outdoor hobbies which he somehow manages to balance with his work and family. He attributes this to his ability to “switch off” after work and plan ahead. We can all take a leaf out of his book!

We hope you guys enjoy this podcast! Feel free to send through any questions you may have for Dr Nicola Davis, and give us feedback on this week’s episode by filling out the survey.

Pathways into ICU

Medical School → Internship → HMO → Basic Physicians Training (3 years) → Advanced Training in General and Acute Care Medicine (3 years)

Source: RACP

Salary

According to the Australian Government Taxation Data, in the 2013-14 income year we had approximately:

  • 133 female ICU consultants earning an average of $169,369
  • 327 male ICU consultants earning an average of $308,033
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TMC040: ICU with Dr Stephen Warrilow
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