Working as physiotherapist in the intensive care unit (ICU) is exciting, I always compare it with Crime Scene Investigation; you need to move around with care – for yourself, for your patient and their families – but you need to also be firm, decisive think on your feet, and above all you really need to know the theoretical background. Our job is to get our patient out of bed, as soon as safely possible. It’s called early mobilization. The earlier we mobilize, the more we limit the additional problems ICU-patients get from being in bed, receiving heavy medication and being on mechanical ventilation: additional problems such as muscle weakness and fatigue.
How to be a part of the ICU
If you want to be part of the CSI-team you need to understand the ICU’s environment, with all its’ machines, lines, tubes and medicine pumps. As it is very difficult to simulate the ICU in a classroom, and not every ESP student will have a chance to do a full-on ICU clinical rotation, we developed an e-learning module: Physiotherapy in the ICU’.
"Working as physiotherapist in the intensive care unit (ICU) is exciting, I always compare it with Crime Scene Investigation"
The ICU-physiotherapists and researchers from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam helped us with the content and provided the real-life videos of their Dutch patients (with English subtitles). Check out our preview below!
LISTEN TO JONATHAN
ICU E-Learning Accessibility
With the content being very specialized and different from most of the content of the ESP curriculum, students are positively surprised by the module:
One student writes: I enjoyed the content of the course and especially the practical part. Extremely interesting field of physiotherapy where I would like to work/experience more in the future. Students also liked the interactiveness of the module: I really enjoyed the course. There were no unnecessary repetitions, there were enough assignments/exercises and the videos were clear. After completion of the e-learning, students have to complete a practical observation in ICU. One student describes this experience as very positive: I like that you see quick progress in your patients, within days and sometimes hours! The patients were always happy to see me, as they wanted to move and get out of bed.
Meet Melike: When the ICU becomes real-life experience
After January’s course, I received an e-mail of Melike, a second-year ESP student who just completed the module. She wrote about her unexpected, real-life experience of ICU – as a patient! –, she allowed me to share some paragraphs in this blog:
The Future of ICU-REHAB
The e-learning module is also part of a PhD research project, happening within ESP and the faculty of health. Our next step is to evaluate if the module sufficiently prepares our students for the ICU environment, in different settings across the globe.