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Mastering Intensive Care

Apr 26, 2019

What it is like when a much loved and respected leader in your Intensive Care suddenly dies?

And do you view the people you work with in your ICU as an extended family?


Paul Young, an Intensivist from New Zealand, discusses his perspectives on these questions, amongst many other valuable insights, in this important and moving interview.

Paul Young is an intensive care specialist at Wellington Hospital in New Zealand where he is the co-clinical leader at Wellington ICU. He is also medical director of Wakefield Hospital ICU, Deputy Director at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, and holds a Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship from the Health Research Council of New Zealand. Paul's predominant non-clinical interest is in ICU research. Since starting work as an intensive care specialist in 2010 he has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals including five papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, two in JAMA, and one in the Lancet. His involvement in clinical research has been instrumental in the development of his belief that intensive care is fundamentally about keeping people alive for long enough for them to recover whilst meddling as little as possible. In his leadership roles he encourages people to find joy in their work and to be nice to each other yet he constantly battles with his own tendency towards sarcasm.

In late 2018, Dr Peter Hicks, the Clinical Lead at Wellington Hospital died suddenly. Peter was an excellent intensivist, a wonderful leader, and a friend to many in the Australian and New Zealand ICU community. His death is sad for all who knew him and most notably his family and colleagues. Paul speaks in this interview about the legacy Peter left behind, how Peter particularly guided Paul in his career and how the Wellington ICU is moving on after Peter’s untimely death.

In this conversation, Paul also discusses:

  • Why he became an intensivist
  • The cultural differences between Australia and New Zealand
  • Telling the truth about his thoughts on the patient’s likely outcome
  • Worrying - and when it's useful and not useful
  • The specifics of his ward round
  • What it’s like to have consultants changing daily in his ICU
  • The start to his research career
  • Some insights on designing clinical trials to answer important questions
  • Why “negative studies” are so important to advance clinical practice (using the TARGET study as an example)
  • How he keeps up with the literature including with Twitter
  • His efforts to be more kind and to get on with people
  • The effects of running on his general wellbeing
  • A challenge for other units to try a “day about” clinical roster

Paul is clever, incisive, and is delightfully able to simplify many concepts about intensive care practice and research.

Please enjoy listening to Dr Paul Young.


Andrew Davies




About the Mastering Intensive Care podcast: The podcast is aimed to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to the intensive care unit, through conversations with thought-provoking guests. I hope you’ll glean insights to help you improve as a healthcare professional and as a human being so you can make a truly valuable contribution to your patient’s lives.




Links to people, organisations and other resources mentioned:

Paul Young on Twitter: @dogICUma

Wellington ICU website

Tribute to Peter Hicks written by David Pilcher

ANZICS CTG (Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group)

Rinaldo Bellomo

Critical Care Reviews

Rob MacSweeney

Wellington ICU Journal Club on Twitter: @WellingtonICU

TARGET study

Tweetorial on the TARGET study by Paul Young

Rana Awdish on Twitter: @RanaAwdish

Book "In Shock" (by Rana Awdish)

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 3 with Rinaldo Bellomo

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 19 with Alex Psirides

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 20 with Jack Iwashyna

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 23 - The Best of 2017 (Part 1)

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 24 - The Best of 2017 (Part 2)

Mastering Intensive Care podcast: Episode 39 - The Best of 2018

Mastering Intensive Care podcast – episode 41 with Rana Awdish

Mastering Intensive Care podcast

Mastering Intensive Care page on Facebook

Mastering Intensive Care at Life In The Fast Lane

Andrew Davies on Twitter: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on Instagram: @andrewdavies66

Email Andrew Davies: