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Mastering Intensive Care

May 30, 2017

Assoc Prof Charlie Corke from Geelong, Australia outlines the importance of optimal communication in helping us arrive at the best decisions for our patients. Charlie is one of Australia’s leading intensivists and has been teaching communication and high quality end of life decision-making since before it was even fashionable.

Charlie reflects on how we can communicate effectively, telling us that communication begins with caring, requires deep respect for others, is mostly about addressing the needs of others, and most importantly involves finding out what the patient truly wants. In a wide-ranging interview, Charlie tells us that intensive care is not a place we can “mess up”, that good intensivists are like the Sherlock Holmes of the hospital, that delegation of authority can never be vague, that we need to look after our selves as well as we do others, how bullying can be so counterproductive, and how much better it is to work in an intensive care unit which favours consistency of practice over individual opinion-based attitudes. Charlie muses on the fact that we need both good leaders and good followers in our intensive care teams to deliver the best outcomes for our patients. The interview concludes with Charlie telling us that sometimes when it all gets too much the best thing to do is to walk out of the intensive care unit or the hospital, have a colleague take over, and to take some time out before coming back to work. He also rejoices in the benefits of working part time.

This podcast was created to help and inspire intensive care clinicians to improve the care we give to our patients by providing interesting and thought-provoking conversations with highly respected and experienced clinicians. In each episode, Andrew Davies, an intensivist from Frankston Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, speaks with a guest for the purpose of hearing their perspectives on the habits and behaviours that they believe are the most important for improving the outcomes of our patients. Things like bringing our best selves to work each day, optimal communication, coping with stress and preventing burn out, working well in a team, and interacting with patient’s families and the many other health professionals we deal with on a daily basis. The podcast is less about the drugs, devices and procedures that can be administered and more about the habits, behaviours and philosophies that can help intensive care clinicians to master the craft of intensive care.