Mastering Intensive Care 026 with Peter Kruger

How do you balance the use of your clinical experience with the literature-based evidence? Are you a good enough listener? Is the clinical handover in your ICU the best it could be? I’ve been reflecting on these questions since I talked to A/Prof Peter Kruger for this week’s Mastering Intensive Care podcast.



Peter is Deputy Director of Intensive Care at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia and an Associate Professor at both the University of Queensland and Monash University in Melbourne. He holds specialist qualifications in both Anaesthesia and Intensive Care and has experience in both laboratory and clinical research. He is the immediate past chair and a senior examiner for the first part examination of the College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand and a primary examiner for the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. He is a board member of the College of Intensive Care Medicine and of The Intensive Care Foundation. In addition to his clinical and teaching roles his active research interests include clinical trial design, utilising clinical information systems to facilitate research, weaning patients from mechanical ventilation and the management of severe sepsis.

Peter is one of those doctors who mixes research, teaching and clinical care really well. So he is perfectly placed to speak on a bunch of topics in this episode, like:

  • How the people and the variety keeps him coming back to work in the ICU
  • Why he enjoys working in a “strong” ICU and what that means
  • Some of the habits he noticed in his mentors
  • The importance of not being in a rush when on clinical duties
  • The varying style of his clinical ward rounds
  • The value of making brief contact with families during bedside handovers
  • What he talked about when he recently gave a presentation entitled “Does what I think I know matter anymore?”
  • How anecdotal experience does impact on our clinical practice
  • Following up those who survive as patients in the ICU (and their families too) can help prevent a series of future problems
  • The value of eye contact, listening, deliberate use of words and pauses in good communication
  • Peter’s change in thinking about shift handover after reading a paper 10 years ago
  • How talking to families is the highlight of his job
  • The value he sees in sailing yachts to help mind, body and soul
  • His thoughts on aging and working as an intensivist
  • Some vital tips for the less experienced

Show notes


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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