How to Become a Fellow of Critical Care Medicine

Kent D. Blad DNP, ACNP-BC, FCCM

The American College of Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) was created in 1988, with the intent of fostering the highest goals of multiprofessional critical care medicine and promoting a forum for the development of collaborative practice among the specialties and professions providing critical care.

Fellowship in the ACCM is meant to recognize individuals whose achievements and contributions demonstrate personal commitment to these goals. It honors those who have demonstrated significant contributions and have made an impact on the critical care profession at a regional, national, or international level.

Fellows of the ACCM (FCCM) are practitioners, researchers, administrators, and educators who have made outstanding contributions to the collaborative field of critical care. Currently 1,221 fellows have FCCM designation.

Congress Session Highlight
At the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) 2019 Congress in San Diego, California, USA, the session “How to Become a Fellow of Critical Care Medicine” featured three presenters currently serving on the ACCM Selection Committee. FCCM selection criteria were presented and discussed in detail. The focus of the presentation was to introduce the criteria for FCCM eligibility and discuss pearls of wisdom for how to be successful in the application process.

FCCM criteria specify that the applicant must:

  • Have been an active member of SCCM for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to application.
  • Be licensed (if license available) to practice in a healthcare category in the United States or Canada. A candidate applying as a physician member must be U.S. board certified.
  • Have a certificate of special competence in critical care or its equivalency, as determined by the category of the application.
  • Have devoted at least 50% of time to critical care in practice, research, administration, or teaching for at least two years prior to application.
  • Be able to demonstrate a collaborative model of critical care, in which the efforts of several disciplines are coordinated to provide optimal patient care.
  • Have made significant contributions to the perception, delivery, or management of critically ill patients in the three areas of program development, scholarly contributions, and leadership.
  • Be sponsored by two individuals, at least one of whom is an active ACCM fellow, who can substantiate the professional history and outstanding merits of the applicant, with particular emphasis on areas of demonstrated excellence and leadership in a collaborative model of critical care.

Value and Benefits of FCCM Designation
The value and benefits of having an FCCM designation are many. Fellowship in the ACCM indicates that you have earned the honor of fellowship through leadership, scholarly activity, and program development in multiprofessional critical care. Fellowship in the ACCM provides you with an earned credential that will benefit you in terms of promotion and tenure at your institution. In addition, many opportunities are afforded to ACCM fellows to participate in guideline development and ACCM committees, working alongside leaders in critical care medicine. An ACCM fellow participates in shaping the organization, critical care delivery, and improving patient outcomes as part of an elite and prestigious group.

Pearls of Wisdom for a Successful Application
To submit a successful application, remember these pearls of wisdom:
Make sure the application is submitted on time. Late submissions are not considered until the following year. The application and all supporting documentation are due by March 15 each year. To view or complete the application, visit MySCCM.org.
  • The applicant must have made significant contributions and/or achievements in all three core areas for acceptance. The core areas are 1) program development, 2) scholarly activities, and 3) leadership, all related to critical care.
  • Scholarly activities must relate to critical care and include educational activities, research, and/or publications on the regional, national, or international level. These must be contributions beyond what is routinely expected in the applicant’s job.
  • Leadership must also include activities devoted to critical care on the regional, national, or international level. Committee or task force work within the applicant’s hospital or organization, as part of his/her regular job, does not meet this requirement.
  • A minimum of five to seven years of critical care activity after completion of training is usually required to meet the leadership criteria.
  • Absent or inadequate documentation will disqualify a candidate.
  • One of the most common reasons an application is declined is incomplete documentation of specific contributions to critical care, rather than other fields.
  • One of the other most common reasons an application is declined is incomplete documentation of leadership and scholarly activities on a regional, national, or international level. Many applicants are instead tempted to include activities performed within their own institution.
Good luck in your pursuit of excellence. For more information, visit sccm.org/ACCM.