COVID-19: Lessons for Junior Doctors Redeployed to Critical Care

Postgrad Med J. 2020 Jun 24;postgradmedj-2020-138100. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-138100. Online ahead of print.


Approximately 4% of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). Governments have cancelled elective procedures, ordered new ventilators and built new hospitals to meet this unprecedented challenge. However, intensive care ultimately relies on human resources. To enhance surge capacity, many junior doctors have been redeployed to ICU despite a relative lack of training and experience. The COVID-19 pandemic poses additional challenges to new ICU recruits, from the practicalities of using personal protective equipment to higher risks of burnout and moral injury. In this article, we describe lessons for junior doctors responsible for managing patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 based on our experiences at an urban teaching hospital.

Keywords: adult intensive & critical care; infectious diseases; medical education & training; respiratory infections.