Mastering Intensive Care 006 with Craig French

In this Mastering Intensive Care Podcast Assoc Prof Craig French from Western Health (where he is Director of Intensive Care) and Melbourne University, Australia reflects thoughtfully about many aspects of clinical care including how inspiring a healthy workplace culture can lead to staff enjoyment as well as improved patient outcomes.



Craig discusses topics such as: how in intensive care we have become more focused on less is best and that this may lead to clinicians becoming deskilled, how good communication and listening requires not being afraid of silence, the benefits of doing a pre-ward round ward round for planning the flow of the day, how more frequent handovers can be an issue and that we are probably moving towards 24 hourly hospital-located intensivists (which may help work-life balance).

Engaging well with nursing staff is vital including providing them with clear aims, simple observation of patients and their surroundings can provide an enormous amount of information, ward rounds can’t go too long and they need to have some sort of predictable order for the effective running of the ICU, the massive importance of having a life outside of medicine.

He discusses his own competitive cycling career, his use of Tibetan meditation to deal with his pathological fear of flying, how busy clinical days can lead to skipped meals and eating fast foods, and how he worries about whether he is spending enough time with his wife and family.

The interview concludes with some thoughts from Craig about the issues with working at home in the evenings, some of the principles of good end of life care, how inspiring a workplace culture which fosters everyone achieving their best can help both staff morale and patient outcomes, and how CPR in the community for elderly patients might be considered futile even before the patient arrives at hospital.


My genuine hope with the Mastering Intensive Care podcast is to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to the ICU by listening to the perspectives of such thought-provoking guests as Wes Ely. I passionately believe we can all get better, both as carers and as people, so we can do our absolute best for those patients whose lives are truly in our hands.

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 andrewATmasteringintensivecare.com.

Further reading and listening

Mastering Internsive Care 700

Mastering Intensive Care

with Andrew Davies

Dr Andrew Davies MBBS FRACP FCIC. Intensivist/researcher at Frankston Hospital, Melbourne. Aiming to bring my best self to work & life. | Mastering Intensive Care | New Normal project |

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