Katherine, Consultant (Emergency Department & Critical Care) Peterborough City Hospital

p.11 Consultant Katerine Mortimore.JPG

Why did you want to become a consultant and what made you want to enter the Emergency Department and Critical Care?

It is incredibly busy, but I enjoy different things about each of my roles which is very rewarding. The Emergency Department is busy and you see a variety of cases. Someone might come in with a cough or cold and then someone else could come in with a cardiac arrest. It is a very fast pace and you need to think on your feet. You don’t get that chance to stop and reflect, you just need to keep going and do the best you can at the time.

In Critical Care you are managing the flow of patients coming in and out but you also get that time to be more involved with the patient’s journey. You can hold their hand and tell them what we can do to help, even if they are unable to respond to you.

I am a very driven and determined person and because I knew I wanted to specialise in two specialties and didn’t have the anaesthetist background that Critical Care Consultants usually have, I was even more determined to work harder to prove myself.  

Why Team North West Anglia?

I worked at Peterborough City Hospital as a trainee and really enjoyed it, I always felt supported by the hospital's consultants and there was a hugely friendly and skilled nursing team. By joining this Trust it means I am working in a great environment, Peterborough City Hospital is a modern hospital, it is bright and inviting, a great place to work. 

I also thoroughly enjoy the region that the Trust is based in, there is some beautiful countryside and it is easy access to a number of major cities such as London, Cambridge, Leicester and Birmingham. Living in this region is also affordable and there is a huge variety to housing on offer. 

Tell us about your role?

The role can be full on and there are those challenging times when you lose someone and have to harden your emotions, whilst continuing to provide empathy and support to the relatives of the patient and junior colleagues who might struggle to cope.

It is not a common career pathway ED and ICU, but there are an increasing number of trainees choosing to do this.  They complement each other well, with cross-over of clinical skills.  ICU is a different busy to ED busy, I’m not someone who likes to be bored!

In ED I am in charge of the shift and manage the doctors and advanced clinical practitioners – ensuring areas are staffed appropriately, discussing plans with juniors, reviewing patients as needed, leading cardiac arrests and trauma calls. 

In ICU I review the patients and do ward rounds.  Review patients on the ward and in ED who are referred to ICU and make decisions regarding their ongoing care. Supervise and support the junior doctors.  Perform invasive procedures where indicated/needed.

How has your role developed over the years, tell us about your journey in the NHS?

I graduated from Edinburgh University 2004 with the intention to train as a GP.  My pre-registration house officer year was spent rotating through medicine, surgery, and critical care/anaesthetics and I fell in love with acute hospital medicine.  Subsequent rotations in ED and Critical Care confirmed for me that I wanted to specialise in these specialities.  I have been lucky to work in various different areas of the country during my training and experience different healthcare challenges and hospitals.  I became a Consultant in 2014 at PCH and I have settled into a self-made rota of 50:50 ED:ICU with varying managerial responsibilities.  I am currently Paediatric Critical Care lead, medical complaints lead for ED, and Trust Resus committee chair, amongst other things.

How has Covid-19 impacted on your role?

Initially Covid-19 had a huge impact on my role. I was working full-time in Critical Care on the Trust's surge rota, this was due to the number of patients we were seeing in Critical and the drop of patients within our Emergency Department. I have spent a lot of my time wearing full PPE, which has been tough, it has been extremely hot and the PPE can be limiting, however it is a necessity so that I can help to look after Covid patients and help them to overcome the virus.   

A regular occurrence during this period is also how we have to change our working practices to accommodate for lessons learned and for new guidelines. It is important to keep up to date with these guidelines in order to keep myself, my colleagues and our patients safe.