What is a general medicine ward?

06 January 2022 By Lorraine Gray

​As you’re already aware, medicine is an incredibly broad term and comprises many different specialities and sub-specialities that all interlink. It’s what makes the field so exciting, particularly in a hospital setting, as every healthcare professional that works there effectively collaborates across diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation to care for patients at all stages of their lives.

When first starting your healthcare career, shifts at the hospital can be quite daunting as there is a lot to get your head around! There are a number of different hospital departments, staffed by a wide variety of healthcare professionals with some crossover in between. In larger hospitals, you can find departments ranging from the general medicine ward and intensive care unit to behavioural health and rehabilitation services. Typically, every hospital will have a general medicine ward which is a department that combines scientific knowledge with clinical expertise to diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases affecting adults.

What is the structure of a hospital ward?

Typically, hospitals are set up with a hierarchical and divisional structure to help the facility operate effectively. The structure involves various levels of staff – ranging from high to lower-level positions that are responsible for the patients within their respective wards.

Wards are useful for accountability purposes and often work in their own silos, so that patients can be placed according to the treatment and expertise that they require. Most general hospitals are often divided into the following wards, though this is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Admissions ward

  • General medicine ward

  • Acute care units

  • ICU

  • Accident and emergency (A&E)

  • Maternity services

  • Paediatrics

  • Oncology

  • Surgery

  • Elderly care

  • Outpatient services

Who works on a general medicine ward?

The general medicine ward provides acute medical services for adults of all ages across a wide variety of specialties. The majority of general medicine admissions come from A&E and are mostly unplanned appointments. Admissions from A&E normally get sent to the admissions ward where patients are reviewed by a team of doctors, nurses and therapists. Some are discharged the same or next day, though if they require further treatment they are transferred to the general medicine ward.

Healthcare professionals that work in general medicine are trained to treat patients that suffer from acute or long-term medical conditions and symptoms, but their work does not involve surgery. Individuals working on the general ward are:

  • Consultant doctors

  • Physiotherapists

  • Dietitians

  • Occupational therapists

  • Nurses

  • Other professionals offering personalised, fully-integrated care

What conditions are treated on a general medicine ward?

Patients admitted to the general medicine ward require specialist medical care for services such as acute medicine (emergency admissions), gastroenterology, endocrinology, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, and cardiology. General medicine refers to the speciality concerned with the diagnosis, management, and non-surgical treatment of unusual or serious diseases, such as:

  • Cardiorespiratory and other cardiological conditions

  • Dermatological conditions

  • Neurological conditions

  • Diabetes

  • Rheumatological conditions

  • Thoracic conditions

General medicine wards are an exciting area of the UK healthcare system to work in as they give you access to a wide variety of scenarios to learn and better develop professionally. Ward settings also allow you the opportunity to learn from your peers and colleagues, whose years of experience can help hone your own knowledge and standard of care.

Looking for your next general medicine ward role?

When it comes to looking for your next general medicine opportunity, we've got you covered. We can ensure you are always able to provide the best care possible be sourcing short and long-term assignments, out of hours, or back-to-back roles on a part-time or permanent basis.

We offer full diary management and get to know you, your your skills, and your long-term career goals so we can find assignments to suit you. Our specialist consultants are always on hand to help you with on-boarding and compliance support.

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