One of the joys of being the director of an ICU like the Alfred’s, is to see the Unit develop and progress, delivering the best possible patient care, achieving great patient outcomes, and excelling in research and education.  But an even greater source of satisfaction is to see the personal growth and development of its staff.

With the assistance of professional development workshops for the group, and mentoring of new consultants, I believe the ICU consultants have become a high performing team, with the individuals not only highly skilled and capable in their own right, but working together to achieve outstanding outcomes. The Alfred ICU has been a “good outlier” for 4 years now because of its excellent patient outcomes.  The “can-do” attitude and team work when faced with complex problems or high intensity workload is truly a joy to see.

The directors have recently commenced additional professional development using the Leadership Circle, in order to be able to provide enhanced leadership to help guide and develop the individuals in the Department and further improve our interactions, both internal and external.

In recent years, we have turned our attention to our trainees.  We have put considerable effort in developing a comprehensive multi-faceted training program, consisting of lectures, bed-side teaching, interactive group sessions, technical skills and exam training and more recently, the introduction of multi-disciplinary simulation sessions, leadership and mentoring training and a website, which in it's first 2 months had 29,560 page views by 4,728 individuals from 92 countries and continuesto average >300 page views/day.   

The case-mix in the department is unique, as is the exposure to 20 consultants, many Internationally recognised for their achievements. With 1 supervisor of training and 4 assistants, consultant mentoring of Senior Registrars and Senior Registrar mentoring of Junior Registrars, we try to provide our trainees with a unique learning experience.  Their growth after 1-2 years with us is a source of pleasure and pride. Attached are 2 photos of recent trips overseas by some of our consultants.  The first is Jamie Cooper in Ireland and the second is of Tim Leong and Deirdre Murphy in Singapore. On both occasions, they were greeted by an almost complete turnout of all our past trainees from those countries and were the recipients of great hospitality.  I believe this is due to the high regard that our past trainees have for us and the Alfred ICU.

Under the guidance of Sharon Hade, the program has now been adapted and is being rolled out to the broad nursing leadership team with what we hope will be similar benefits. 

The Alfred ICU places great importance on having a superior multidisciplinary team as it is core to our goal: the pursuit of excellence.

The culture of continuous improvement, the pursuit of excellence, the high performing team and sheer hard work and tireless effort has resulted in The Alfred ICU winning a number  of awards in the last 12 months.  

These were:

  • 2014 winner Metropolitan Health Workforce Initiative - Inaugural People in Health Awards
  • 2013 ELSO Life Support Centre of Excellence
  • 2013 Wendy Swift Nursing Award (36th Annual Scientific Meeting Australian New Zealand Burns Association)
  • 2013 first prize and honorary mention in the Health Associated Infections  (HAI) Awards.
  • 2013 “Premier’s award for advancing healthcare” Victorian Public Healthcare Awards (Alfred award with ICU contribution)

These add to the previous awards:

  • NHMRC Practitioner fellowship: 2002, 2007, 2013
  • The AMREP research prize: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012
  • Best of the Best International Nutrition Survey: 2009, 2011, 2013
  • Nurses League Award for "excellence in patient centred care": 2013, 2014
  • 2011 gold winner “Excellence in Healthcare Outcomes” Victorian Public Healthcare Awards
  • 2012 Senior Medical Staff Prize for Clinical Research
  • 2012 Frank McDermott Award for excellence and impact
  • 2012 Alfred Senior Medical Staff Trainee Research Scholarship

The ICU continues to be innovative as it enters new frontiers.  The development of ECMO-CPR being one example.  Since January 2012, 40 patients, who previously would have had a 100% mortality have been treated, with a 42.5% survival to discharge home.

Another significant development has been an ipad application for the ICU reception area.  The initial homepage displays a short introductory video introducing the user to the ICU, explaining, in plain language, what it means to be critically unwell and providing a virtual video tour of the unit and what to expect when entering a cubicle, including some of the noises. Via real time links to the roster, the user is informed which Intensivist is caring for their loved one by simply selecting the patient’s bed number.  The application also contains a photo and brief biography for each Intensivist and it enables requests for a family meeting to be relayed to the relevant Intensivist via SMS and e-mail.  The user is then free to navigate through over 100 pages, many of which can be printed wirelessly within the waiting room, such as nearby accommodation, public transport and eateries, with maps highlighting the location and contact details).A significant innovation is a “Procedures and Therapies” section describing all common ICU interventions and their risks


Prof Carlos Scheinkestel

Director of Intensive Care and Hyperbaric Medicine





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