If you're a medical student who is interested in critical care and you haven't heard of SMACC. You gon' learn today.
The first SMACC conference was held in Sydney Australia in March 2013 and was attended by 650 critical care health professionals from around the world. The talks were designed to not only engage and inspire the audience, but to make those who watched not just better doctors, but better people. It did not disappoint. Like short medical TED talks with the occasional pyrotechnic thrown in, there are pearls of wisdom to gain from each talk no matter what level of medicine you're at.
Let's get to it.
1) Crack the Chest. Get Crucified - John Hinds
This is the first SMACC talk I ever watched. It was shown to me by one of the Simulation Fellows at Adelaide Uni Simulation Center, while I was on a med student rotation there in February of 2018. This registrar spoke in awe of John Hinds, and after watching this video I could see why.
After this rotation ended, the next time I saw this registrar was 2 years later in the recovery unit of the RAH, at 4am, at a Code Blue. And it was a proper one. The real classic scene from a movie - people running everywhere, alarms going off, and a patient who looked like she was on the edge. This registrar standing at the head of the bed, as cool as a cucumber, looked like a god damn hero as he calmly but assertively called the shots of this peri-arrest resuscitation.
Studying medicine is more than learning a bunch of information about diseases. It's about changing how you think. It's about changing how you behave.
Watch. Learn. Be ready.
2) Learning From Sim Part II: Critical Moments In The Emergency Department - Chris Hicks
In the emergency department there are at least as many emotionally difficult patients as there are medically difficult patients. Emotion has a profound effect on decision-making. We like to believe that we can control our emotions and make good decisions regardless of the context in which those decisions must be executed -- The reality is, that's far from the truth.
I believe that simulation is an ideal tool for eliciting challenging emotions -- anger, fear, anxiety, prejudice -- and developing skills to manage them.
3) The Essence of Critical Care - Scott Weingart
Scott Weingart is an Emergency Medicine Physician from Long Island, New York. He is the founder of the EMCrit podcast (a great critical care podcast - emcrit.org).
This is the opening lecture of SMACC 2013, and certainly not the last time you'll see Scott Weingart on stage at a SMACC. This is first ever SMACC talk, and it perfectly frames what critical care is and how as a discipline we can strive to be better.
4) Making Things Happen - Cliff Reid
Cliff Reid is a Prehospital Critical Care Physician from Sydney Australia.
Functioning under pressure is an important talent for the emergency physician. Yourself, the environment, the team, the patient - the 4 domains you must maintain control over to be an effective team leader. In this talk Cliff delivers wisdom +++ so you can be a better team leader, and deliver better outcomes for patients.
5) More Cases From the Races - John Hinds
In case you didn't get enough the first time.
Talks like these do more than educate us, they inspire us. Inspiration, like eating a chocolate chip cookie, feels good in the moment, but what really brings durable fulfilment to our lives is making a difference in the world. To make a difference in the world, we have to take action, we have to do things. We have to change our behaviour.
Inspiration is an emotion, its fleeting, it lasts about as long as the taste of a cookie lingers. Seconds to minutes.
If you feel inspired after watching one of these talks, harness that inspiration, take action now. Study something boring, finish an assignment, register for ASSCC's Airway Skills Night, commit to an extra-curricular project. Do something now that will make you feel good when you're laying in bed at night reflecting on your day. That's how you become a better doctor. That's how you become a better person.