I had the good fortune to spend 4 weeks with the ICU Dept at the University Hospital Geelong, Australia.
Right from the start the team welcomed me into the fold and involved me in all their activities.
As an example, from day one, I was involved in a family meeting to discuss withdrawal of treatment who had been in long term ICU care with little chance of recovery to prior functional levels. The family meeting was particularly emotional and poignant in that the patient was only 40ish with a relatively young family. The experience highlighted to me how the team was able to care for the patient and the family through the investigative and treatment stages and eventually to decision to not pursue further treatment.
I don’t remember a time where there was a dull moment during my time with the ICU team. The teaching was fantastic, everyone from the consultants, registrars, and residents were actively teaching and giving me advice in relation to decision making processes. There were numerous impromptu quizzes which were which reinforced my understanding. Furthermore, as a number of the advanced trainees were going for their exams, there were many opportunities to take part in their mock examinations.
I was also able practice my clinical skills every day from the cannulation to peripheral and central lines. I was always encouraged to carry out physical examinations of patients, make appropriate assessments and report to the consultants my findings, or at the team review meetings. Overall, I had a wonderful educational experience in that I was able to apply my medical knowledge in the ICU setting and was able to consolidate many of my clinical skills.
I was able to observe a talented team operating in a constructive an cooperative manner which had left me with a very positive impression of the profession.