The intensive care unit (ICU) is a specialised hospital ward where the ‘sickest-of-the-sick’ patients, often with life-threatening illness, receive around-the-clock monitoring and life support. There is a wide spectrum of conditions managed, and these present unique challenges for those who work in this field. Written in lay language by experienced ICU doctors (Intensivists), Psychiatrists, healthcare professionals outside of medicine and other stakeholders, “Stories from ICU doctors” provides insight and commentary around the nature and management of stressors for senior doctors working in the ICU.
The first five sections of the book describe the distinctive nature of the ICU environment: the human factors involved, the characteristics of thriving Intensivists, the emotions they experience, and how they behave in response. The final three sections provide a synthesis of the advice of these clinicians for both current and future Intensivists, the advice from those who surround the Intensivist both at work and at home; and some concluding remarks about trainee suitability and selection for intensive care medicine.
This book is for ICU patients and their families, it is for the families of ICU doctors, it is for doctors from other specialities, it is for the nurses and others that work alongside ICU doctors, and for anyone considering a career in ICU medicine and those who care for them. We share these stories in hope that readers might better appreciate the human side of these doctors, better understand the complex working environment in which they practice, and perhaps better empathize with their stressors and struggles.
Most importantly, this book is also for the ICU doctors who currently work within the specialty, to validate their feelings and experiences, and ultimately provide support by reminding them that they are not alone in navigating the difficulties they face.