By Roy Poblete, MD, David Seder, MD, Gene Sung, MD
Since the first Emergency Neurological Life Support® (ENLS) course, there has always been a great deal of interest in developing an advanced learning follow-up course. The Neurocritical Care Society is now proud to present the brand-new Essentials of Neurocritical Care (Essentials) course. Essentials had its inaugural workshop at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Neurocritical Care Society in October 2019 in Vancouver, Canada.
Over the two-day course, attendees received comprehensive education on fundamental concepts and skills in neurocritical care. This first offering of this course was limited to 30 participants and was filled months in advance. Despite ongoing requests to attend the course just before and during the event, we could not expand the class size but were excited to see the interest.
The Essentials of Neurocritical Care workshop covers a broad range of fundamental aspects of neurocritical care and provides learners with all the tools necessary to approach and manage a patient after neurologic injury. Participants completed six individual sessions: neurologic exam and prognostication scales, intracranial pressure monitor placement and management, multimodality monitoring, targeted temperature management, neurocritical care ultrasound, and advanced airway and mechanical ventilation in neurocritical care. Sessions included both large-group didactics and small-group discussion. Hands-on experiences included cranial drilling and external ventricular catheter placement, transcranial Doppler and optic nerve ultrasound, and fiberoptic intubation for spinal cord injury.
By the end of the course, participants were expected to be able to discuss indications for diagnostic tests and therapies and be able to interpret and synthesize the data to improve patient care.
We were pleased with the mix of backgrounds of those that attended, highlighting the multi-disciplinary nature of neurocritical care. The attendees were physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Specialties represented were pulmonary critical care, anesthesiology, pediatrics, vascular neurology and neurocritical care. Participants were from Canada, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Responses from the attendees have been overwhelmingly positive. Participants responded especially to the interactive and case-based approach to learning.
The successful launch of the course can be attributed to the remarkable support of the Neurocritical Care Society and its members. A total of 19 faculty participated in leading break-out sessions, with special thanks to doctors Christopher Kramer, Sebina Bulic, Kristine O’Phelan, Joshua Levine, Fred Rincon, Roy Poblete and Alberto Goffi for directing individual sessions. Other faculty were Kassi Kronfeld, Sasha Yakhkind, Carolina Maciel, Andrea Rigamonti, Jeffrey Singh, Theresa Human, Chad Miller, Ayham Alkhachroum, Wendy Ziai, Christy Cornwell, Bobby Egrin, Benjamin Emanuel, Carl Wherry, Tracey Berlin, Carolina Maciel, Katharina Busl, Mypinder Sekhon and Donald Griesdale. Attendees benefited from the expertise of all the faculty involved. Small group break-outs provided opportunity for learners to engage directly with faculty, who led in-depth, case-based discussions and answered challenging questions from the group.
We believe there will be continued opportunities to expand the Essentials in Neurocritical Care workshop in the future and especially look forward to offering the course in upcoming society meetings and events. The responses provided by this year’s attendees have been important in identifying portions of the course that were most effective. There is potential to tailor future workshops to the anticipated audience. For interested faculty, we hope to have many more opportunities to become involved.