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Mastering Intensive Care

Jun 26, 2017

How important is the main daily ward round we do each day in the Intensive Care Unit? Is the ward round in your ICU focused and concise? Do you adequately communicate the plans you generate on the ward round to the whole ICU team?

John Myburgh, AO, an experienced Australian intensivist, who began his life and career in South Africa, is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at St George Clinical School, University of New South Wales and Director of Critical Care at the George Institute, Sydney. He has an international research profile and is a Foundation Member and Past-Chairman of the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group.

In this episode, John gives a very insightful commentary on how much attention he puts on the clinical ward round as our key tool in intensive care practice. We might do more than one ward round a day but John says the main daily ward round is where it should all happen. Where we try and think about how the patient, with their individual characteristics of life and disease, is actually progressing through their critical illness. Whether they are on an upward trajectory to improvement, whether they are on a downward trajectory that may lead to death, or whether they are stuck on the flat “curve” which we often don’t have our eyes open to.

John also tells us to be careful of using too many “toys” (machines) and focusing too much on the test results. And he warns us that we are at point in the development of intensive care medicine where we save the lives of more people, but forget to realise that many of these have a greater disease burden from their chronic critical illness than they did when they were admitted to the ICU.

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.

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