smaccGOLD through the eyes of an intensive care basic trainee
by Lily Foster
The anticipation of smaccGOLD has been tangible over the past few months both on the www and in real life.
There has been an underlying excitement at my work from all my colleagues who are attending, and a certain jealously from those who aren’t.
Sorry guys…hope you’re having fun at work…terrible weather up here (if you hate sunshine)!
Of course, the GOLD Coast is the appropriate address for smaccGOLD, not Brisbane, as was originally booked by one of the more study-drained advanced trainee delegates. Luckily, she managed to change her flights to join us here. What a better place to hold a conference than the Gold Coast, known for its sun, surf and sand; forcing sunglasses and the circadian rhythm onto the worlds of the usually night shift imprisoned population that is the critical care workforce. Beware pale night-dwellers…sunscreen is a must.
The next three days promise education, enthusiasm, inspiration and maybe the occasional alcoholic beverage or few (although I must say, the danger of a beer at lunch was ignored by most).
Day one most certainly did not disappoint.
Starting off with a bang, a literal pounding of drums, the conference was off to a stimulating start. The beginning of smaccGOLD was above and beyond expectation. Entering ‘arena one’ for the opening ceremony brought back memories of the excitement and anticipation that I experienced as a child when entering the ‘Indiana Jones’ ride at Disneyland. Fire-throwers, dancers, flashing lights, more flashing lights and the underlying tribal beat symbolizing the re-uniting of the tribes of critical care and heralded the start of smaccGOLD. Roger Harris commented that there was no profit to be made from smaccGOLD and this was evidenced by the detail, brilliance and no-cost-spared excellence of this spectacle. One might have been mistaken to think they were at a show on Broadway rather than at a critical care conference.
Victoria Brazil continued the tribal theme demanding a rejection of the ‘us vs them’ mentality that plagues our workrooms. Her role-play illustrated her key point; to work on being human at work in the relationships we make and create everyday. That ultimately the “win” is the patient outcome not the argument. This certainly gave food for thought.
Richard Levitan danced around the stage, quick-stepping his main lesson of ‘don’t think of what you don’t want, think of what you do want’. His encouragement to visualize success in your head and break things into portions was motivating. Reminiscent of Oprah’s “the Secret”.
Following the main arena a buffet of intellectual delight was set before us.
Steve Smith impressed us with his discussion on subtle ECG changes in ischemia. He made the interesting and accurate point that ‘it’s often the ECG that is diagnostic and the interpreter who is non-diagnostic’.
Rosengren described his incredible adventures in Mexico, during which he survived 52 degree centigrade temperatures and 100% humidity, only to procure a souvenir crystal and D-grade celebrity status on ’60 minutes’.
Gatward spoke on the emerging importance of ‘sim training’ in medicine and why we lag behind other professions in adopting this way of learning. The mantra ‘ever tried, ever failed, no matter, try again, fail again, fail better…’
Chris Nickson on Euboxia; beware of normal and how pursuance of normality can be harmful. Embrace dysboxia when safe to do so.
It was great to see the nurses represent with Sarah Webb stating, “Doctors, prepare to have your noses put out of joint; sometimes nurses do it better”. Ultimately though her message was clear and vital, to work as a TEAM. Teach, Empower, Ask and Mentor.
Cliff Reid and dogmalysis; so many untrue truths already learnt in my short career. Reminding us to question why or why not?
The biggest choice I had to make today wasn’t about which one of fifteen different cakes to choose from for afternoon tea (although this was a tough decision), but rather which talk to go to at which time. All I can say is thank goodness these talks will be up on the ICN website in the coming months. There were so many esteemed and encouraging speakers throughout the day and not enough time to see them all. A time machine certainly would’ve been a useful tool to negotiate through each of the sessions today, wish I’d remembered to pack one… Not sure how day two could possibly compare with today, my brain is about ready to explode already!