Mastering Intensive Care 010 with Imogen Mitchell

Do you seek the relative at the bedside’s help by asking them their opinion on whether their loved one is getting better or not? Do you even have families at the bedside on your ward round? Do you listen as much as you can in your end of life discussions?

Professor Imogen Mitchell, a senior intensivist and Dean of Medicine from Canberra, Australia, sees talking to our patient’s families as one of the privileges of working in intensive care. She is a huge supporter of having families at the bedside for the clinical ward rounds and is a passionate believer in exposing our own vulnerability in family meetings, particularly by listening to the patient and their family’s stories first. Imogen has also consistently placed communication with the multi-disciplinary intensive care team at the forefront of great clinical care.

Now as one of the senior women in Australasian Intensive Care, Imogen is also passionate about the gender inequity in intensive care training and also in consultant intensivist positions. She has felt the frustration of being a woman in intensive care when she has noticed behaviours that in retrospect she has wondered whether men would ever have been subjected to. Imogen also struggled to find the perfect mentor earlier in her career, perhaps because of the scarcity of female intensivists at the time. She now wants to make sure young female medical students and intensivists come to understand that intensive care can be an excellent career for both genders.

Imogen is thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate and considerate. She has been a leader for most of her career, making her the ideal person to give us advice on leadership, communication, decision-making, the training of young doctors, and debriefing to manage stress. In this interview, Imogen starts with how she came to fancy intensive care over her initial desire to be a histopathologist, and ends with some great “life” tips for less experienced clinicians.

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

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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