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Mastering Intensive Care

Jun 13, 2017

Assoc Prof Dianne Stephens tells the story of how she moved to Darwin, a remote part of Australia, immediately after completing her intensive care training, as a solo intensivist and Director of the Intensive Care Unit. And by working hard, respecting and valuing everyone in the team and by communicating well, she led the development of a positive and happiness–focused work environment where great things have happened over the last 2 decades.

Dianne received an OAM (a national award) for her leadership role in the intensive care management of the 20 critically ill Bali bombing victims in 2002. She describes what it really felt like in the moment. Dianne takes us on the journey of her career from when she first began to love intensive care as an intern to recently reflecting that she has never had a day when she hasn’t been excited about going to work. She also describes the need to remain calm when emotions escalate at the bedside; the benefit of noticing changes in colleague’s behaviour to assist them before things get out of control; the importance of training in communication (and recognising that honesty and respect can be more important than understanding everything about other cultures); the benefits of talking about what is important to a patient’s family, not what is important to us; the realisation that she needed a mid-career mental health break (which she had in Fiji just last year); and her desire to continue to improve at connecting with patients, families and colleagues.

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.

Please send any comments through the Life In The Fast Lane website, facebook (masteringintensivecare), twitter (@andrewdavies66) or by simply emailing