Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 553–561

An international survey of training in adult intensive care medicine


DOI: 10.1007/s00134-005-2583-7

Cite this article as:
Barrett, H. & Bion, J.F. Intensive Care Med (2005) 31: 553. doi:10.1007/s00134-005-2583-7



The aim of this international survey of training in adult intensive care medicine (ICM) was to characterise current structures, processes, and outcomes to determine the potential for convergence to a common competency-based training programme across national borders. This survey is the first phase of a 3 year project which will use consensus methods to build an international competency-based training programme in ICM in Europe (CoBaTrICE).


A survey by questionnaire, email, and direct discussion was undertaken with national ICM representatives from seven geographical regions.


Responses were obtained from 41 countries (countries which share common training programmes were grouped together; n=38). Fifty-four different training programmes were identified, 37 within the European region; three (6%) were competency-based. Twenty (53%) permitted multidisciplinary access to a common training programme; in nine (24%) training was only available within anaesthesia. The minimum duration of ICM training required for recognition as a specialist varied from 3 months to 72 months (mode 24 months). The content of most (75%) ICM programmes was standardised nationally. Work-based assessment of competence was formally documented in nineteen (50%) countries. An exam was mandatory in twenty-nine (76%).


There are considerable variations in the structures and processes of ICM training worldwide. However, as competency-based training is an outcome strategy rather than a didactic process, these differences should not impede the development of a common international competency-based training programme in ICM.


Intensive care Critical care Training Education Curriculum Professional competence 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareN5 Queen Elizabeth HospitalBirminghamUK

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