Mastering Intensive Care 007 with Charlie Corke

Assoc Prof Charlie Corke from Geelong, Australia outlines the importance of optimal communication in helping us arrive at the best decisions for our patients. Charlie is one of Australia’s leading intensivists and has been teaching communication and high quality end of life decision-making since before it was even fashionable.



Charlie reflects on how we can communicate effectively, telling us that communication begins with caring, requires deep respect for others, is mostly about addressing the needs of others, and most importantly involves finding out what the patient truly wants. In a wide-ranging interview, Charlie tells us that intensive care is not a place we can “mess up”, that good intensivists are like the Sherlock Holmes of the hospital, that delegation of authority can never be vague, that we need to look after our selves as well as we do others, how bullying can be so counterproductive, and how much better it is to work in an intensive care unit which favours consistency of practice over individual opinion-based attitudes.

Charlie muses on the fact that we need both good leaders and good followers in our intensive care teams to deliver the best outcomes for our patients. The interview concludes with Charlie telling us that sometimes when it all gets too much the best thing to do is to walk out of the intensive care unit or the hospital, have a colleague take over, and to take some time out before coming back to work. He also rejoices in the benefits of working part time.


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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