Welcome to the Critical Care Selective

Dear Students:

We are pleased to welcome you to the 4th year UNC School of Medicine's Critical Care Selective. We hope to provide an environment which acquaints you with a variety of both acute and chronic diseases which are addressed by critical care management.  Intensivists are involved in the comprehensive care of their patients. Critical care is a specialty that encompasses emergency care, surgical, pediatric, neurosurgical, neurological, medical, cardiac and cardiothoracic specialties.  On some of the available rotations, you will be exposed to more than one of these fields in a single critical care environment.

Rotations are offered primarily on the UNC campus, however, they are also offered at Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte.  A rotation is available in Asheville, however, it is limited to the Asheville campus students at the present time.  Away rotations may be approved by the course director to satisfy this requirement however, this is done so on a limited basis and requires a significant amount of preparation on your part and on that of both medical schools.  If you are considering an away rotation to satisfy the requirement, we suggest that you prepare for this at least 6 months in advance of the desired block.

It is not our intention on this rotation to turn all of you into critical care practitioners.  In fact, in order to be an intensivist, you must have completed a minimum of three years of a residency prior to an extra year of training in critical care!  It is our hope that you will establish an appreciation of the role of critical care management of patients. We hope you will appreciate the proper management algorithms for common as well as uncommon diseases as well as quality and safety issues related to intensive care.

Although the faculty has the ultimate responsibility for providing education during the clerkship, your education is very much a team effort involving our house staff, nurses, mid-level providers and fellows. We hope you will establish close relationships with the entire ICU team and join them in the care of patients. The ICU can be a stressful environment where you are faced, often for the first time, with life threatening situations.  These should be reflected upon by yourself and discussed with faculty, residents and peers to allow you to process some of these life events.

In addition, be aware that as an adult learner, you are equally responsible for your education. You should be intellectually curious, read, seek out knowledge and participate in all educational conferences while on your rotation.  We also encourage you to learn by discovery, which implies independent reading, study and discussion of new experiences and diseases that you will encounter. We think the process of self-education is especially important to learning.

You will be ably assisted in the logistics of the course by Ms. Stacey Owen. She will provide you with the information you need for your rotation and be available as a resource person for questions of any kind (966-4781). However, please note that the scheduling of your Critical Care Selective, or any changes you need to make to your schedule, should be done through the School of Medicine Student Affair's Office. They will then communicate those changes to our office.

Again, we want to extend to you our enthusiasm for your presence and hope your experience in critical care will be challenging, stimulating and rewarding.


Sofia Aliaga, MD