Acknowledging the effect that our work and personal challenges can have on us is important

The Faculty are always looking for ways to provide helpful and up to date information to support those working in ICM. The Wellbeing Centre aims to do this by providing easily accessible resources to inform and support wellbeing education and skills.

Fight Fatigue

Critical Care is an enormously rewarding speciality to work in. The work is constantly interesting and varied, such that it's possible to maintain a career long fascination with the speciality. There is emotional reward in the profound difference we can make, both individually and as a team to the life of our patients, and often also their relatives. As part of a multidisciplinary team we are also usually mutually very well supported and supportive in our jobs. By the very nature of critical care it can also be very demanding; leading to a drain on our physical and emotional reserves. This leads to fatigue. There is always a balance to maintain between the plusses of the job and the negatives.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is defined as "extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness". Susceptibility to fatigue depends on many factors including those directly related to the individual, workload, home life, colleagues, critical care unit, and hospital. These factors fluctuate all the time including the effect and susceptibility to fatigue as we age, changes in our family life (young children, driving to care for elderly parents), and our own physical and mental health.

The onset of fatigue can be obvious - exhausted after being up all night desperately trying to save a patient, and the interaction with their family who also require explanations and care. Fatigue can also however be insidious and develop over months to years. It is very important that we look after ourselves, look out for our colleagues' welfare, and check in on the other members of the MDT. It's easy to forget in the rush to get home, that it may be safer and better to eat, drink fluids, and have a rest before travelling and putting yourself, and others at increased risk. It's also important that longer term factors are borne in mind; sleeping habits, social life, personal fitness, alcohol, caffeine, taking regular holidays and so forth, are all very important to pay attention to in our attempts to prevent fatigue.

The Faculty has worked closely with our colleagues at the Association of Anaesthetists and the RCoA as part of the #FightFatigue campaign

Watch the webinar recording 'Facing Fatigue - science, strategies and solutions to help manage work-related fatigue'

Fight Fatigue Resources

Fatigue and the Workforce

Dr Laura McClelland talks about fatigue and it’s impact on safety and health. She encourages us to consider how to minimise our own fatigue by achieving better quality rest and mitigating circadian rhythm disruption with the aid of useful devices and techniques.  Click on the picture link to go to the webcast!

Click here for an introduction slide which gives an overview of Laura's webcast if you'd like to focus on a particular area.

External Resources

As part of FICM's Wellbeing Centre project, we aim to collate an external list of helpful websites and resources to further support ICM professionals and make them easier to access. As Faculties and Colleges, we have a leadership role within the profession to help provide or direct doctors to the right sources of support. 

The Faculty is always here for its members and will try to help wherever and whenever possible

Resource Description
Practical steps to forming Balint Groups to ensure team wellbeing during COVID-19

Balint groups can be formed locally at a departmental level to foster a more personalised and supportive environment for staff and is a practical measure to promote wellbeing during covid-19. These groups use case discussions to help focus on the emotions of clinicians, rather than on clinical management. Its practice is recommended by the GMC given its role in promoting reflective practice.

Authors: Dr Vijay Pattni, Dr Rajnish Saha and Dr Jeff Phillips, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges: Support for Doctors

The AoMRC has produced a comprehensive list of support resources encompassing a range of areas: local trust, mental health, medical defence unions, counselling and financial support. The Academy believes it is vital that all doctors and NHS professionals support one another by providing an environment that encourages and enables us to make choices that promote healthy lives and wellbeing.

Disabled Doctors Network Independent support network aimed at chronically ill and disabled medical professionals

Do you have a resource to submit?
If there's a resource you'd like us to link to, a wellbeing area you'd like more information on or think we should be focusing on please contact us.