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Mastering Intensive Care

May 29, 2018

In this week’s episode you’ll hear an invigorating conversation with Francesca Rubulotta. This power-packed, enthusiastic, passionate, water polo-playing, Italian doctor, now living and working in London, UK, is seriously ambitious to help patients other than those in her ICU, mostly by advancing education using technological innovation.

Francesca is a Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Imperial College Medical School. She studied medicine and anaesthesia in Italy and intensive care in Belgium, but also worked in the USA and the Netherlands on a journey that arrived in London 10 years ago. Francesca has been the Chair of the past division of professional development of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and is currently the Chair of the ESICM’s CoBaTrICE project. She leads and has led many other committees and organisations, and is presently the first ever female Presidential candidate in the ESICM general election (with the ballot open until June 11).

Francesca has diverse clinical interests including end of life care, ethical aspects of intensive care, rapid response systems, and clinical research. She speaks 5 European languages, travels and speaks around the globe and has won masters world championships as a waterpolo player.

In this conversation, Francesca demonstrates a deep understanding of, a strong passion for and substantial experience in running educational programs and courses in an innovative way using digital technology. She also tells of her desire to maximize the reach of education to less-developed areas of the world and her hope for more balance between the genders in intensive care. We also cover:

  • The story of her multinational career so far
  • How she obtained her current job in the United Kingdom
  • How her intensive care career began by translating her intensivist father’s slides into English as a high school student
  • How both she and her sister are now intensivists
  • The benefits of training under some of the superstars of intensive care
  • Her observation that the best intensivists keep it simple
  • A story about how her change in demeanour helped her team understand how a clinical situation had turned serious
  • The importance of empowering junior staff to make decisions
  • Her fundamental desire to have daily physical contact with each patient
  • How she took an ex-long-term ICU patient to the pub
  • Raised expectations that educators should now deliver TED-like talks
  • The honour of standing as an election candidate to be ESICM President
  • The possibility of a global intensive care society one day
  • Her passion for waterpolo and the vital importance of following our passions outside of medicine
  • How yoga helps her look after her mind
  • Learning from the mistakes she has made along the way
  • And some thoughts about gender inequality in intensive care.

My genuine hope with the Mastering Intensive Care podcast is to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to work and to adopt some of the habits and behaviours my guests give their perspectives on, with the ultimate purpose of improving outcomes for all of our patients. Please help me to spread the message by simply emailing your colleagues, posting on social media or subscribing, rating and reviewing the podcast.

Feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook “mastering intensive care” page, on the LITFL episode page, on twitter using #masteringintensivecare, or by sending me an email at

Thanks for listening on the journey towards mastering intensive care.

Andrew Davies



Show notes (people, organisations, resources or links mentioned in the episode):

Link to Francesca Rubulotta’s ESICM President campaign:

Francesca Rubulotta’s logo, suggesting representation (globe), education (eye) and innovation (light):

Twitter handle for Francesca Rubulotta: @frubulotta

Mastering Intensive Care podcast:

Mastering Intensive Care at Life In The Fast lane:

Twitter handle for Andrew Davies: @andrewdavies66

Email Andrew Davies: