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Mastering Intensive Care

Jul 11, 2017

Do you seek the relative at the bedside’s help by asking them their opinion on whether their loved one is getting better or not? Do you even have families at the bedside on your ward round? Do you listen as much as you can in your end of life discussions?

Professor Imogen Mitchell, a senior intensivist and Dean of Medicine from Canberra, Australia, sees talking to our patient’s families as one of the privileges of working in intensive care. She is a huge supporter of having families at the bedside for the clinical ward rounds and is a passionate believer in exposing our own vulnerability in family meetings, particularly by listening to the patient and their family’s stories first. Imogen has also consistently placed communication with the multi-disciplinary intensive care team at the forefront of great clinical care.

Now as one of the senior women in Australasian Intensive Care, Imogen is also passionate about the gender inequity in intensive care training and also in consultant intensivist positions. She has felt the frustration of being a woman in intensive care when she has noticed behaviours that in retrospect she has wondered whether men would ever have been subjected to. Imogen also struggled to find the perfect mentor earlier in her career, perhaps because of the scarcity of female intensivists at the time. She now wants to make sure young female medical students and intensivists come to understand that intensive care can be an excellent career for both genders.

Imogen is thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate and considerate. She has been a leader for most of her career, making her the ideal person to give us advice on leadership, communication, decision-making, the training of young doctors, and debriefing to manage stress. In this interview, Imogen starts with how she came to fancy intensive care over her initial desire to be a histopathologist, and ends with some great “life” tips for less experienced clinicians.

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