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Mastering Intensive Care

May 16, 2017

In this episode Assoc Prof Craig French from Western Health (where he is Director of Intensive Care) and Melbourne University in Melbourne, Australia reflects thoughtfully about many aspects of clinical care including how inspiring a healthy workplace culture can lead to staff enjoyment as well as improved patient outcomes.

Craig discusses topics such as: how in intensive care we have become more focused on less is best and that this may lead to clinicians becoming deskilled, how good communication and listening requires not being afraid of silence, the benefits of doing a pre-ward round ward round for planning the flow of the day, how more frequent handovers can be an issue, that we are probably moving towards 24 hourly hospital-located intensivists (which may help work-life balance), engaging well with nursing staff is vital including providing them with clear aims, simple observation of patients and their surroundings can provide an enormous amount of information, ward rounds can’t go too long and they need to have some sort of predictable order for the effective running of the ICU, the massive importance of having a life outside of medicine, his own competitive cycling career, his use of Tibetan meditation to deal with his pathological fear of flying, how busy clinical days can lead to skipped meals and eating fast foods, and how he worries about whether he is spending enough time with his wife and family. The interview concludes with some thoughts from Craig about the issues with working at home in the evenings, some of the principles of good end of life care, how inspiring a workplace culture which fosters everyone achieving their best can help both staff morale and patient outcomes, and how CPR in the community for elderly patients might be considered futile even before the patient arrives at hospital.

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.