Surgical intensivists are board-certified general surgeons who have completed additional training in the management and treatment of critically ill surgical patients and hold the American Board of Surgery’s Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgical Critical Care.
Intensivists use a team approach to patient care by coordinating nurses, consulting physicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and other hospital staff. As board-certified surgeons, the surgical intensivists have unique insight into surgical problems in the critically ill. By maintaining a continuous presence in the ICU, we are able to deal most effectively with the patients’ immediate needs. The critical care team works closely with each patient’s surgeon to direct the overall care plan.
The Surgical Critical Care Team (SCC) includes attending physicians, residents, critical care-trained physician assistants (PAs) and ICU nurses. Through the involvement of a multiple physician/PA team, we can respond immediately to the bedside for medical emergencies. Residents and PAs are in the hospital at all times and an attending surgical intensivist is always available.
- Attending physicians are board-certified by the American College of Surgeons to practice both general surgery and surgical critical care medicine. All have appointments at the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Medicine and are full-time educators at Saint Francis.
- Residents are licensed physicians who have completed medical school and are pursuing specialty training.
- Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals specifically trained to work under a physician’s supervision. The critical care PAs at Saint Francis have focused experience in the evaluation and management of critically ill patients and are dedicated full-time to intensive care.
- ICU Nurses are registered nurses who have received additional training in the care and management of critically ill patients.
What other specialists routinely participate in the care of critically ill patients?
Respiratory therapists, dieticians and pharmacists are also vital members of the critical care team. These specialists provide daily patient care support under the direction of the attending surgical intensivist.
Surgical intensivists are required to maintain expertise in the evaluation and management of multiple organ system problems in critically ill patients, including cardiopulmonary (heart/lung) disease, renal (kidney) disease, neurological (brain and spine) disease, gastrointestinal disease, nutrition support, infectious disease and immunology. The critical care team is qualified to perform invasive cardiopulmonary monitoring and management, manage ventilators (breathing machines), perform bronchoscopy and tracheostomy, place feeding tubes, and provide complex nutritional support. As a result, other specialty consultations are not routinely necessary. Specialists, however, are consulted to participate in the care of particularly complex or unusual cases, or when a medical service is required that the Surgical Critical Care Team does not routinely provide, such as dialysis, cardiac catheterization or angioplasty.