Ann-Marie Brown, PhD, CPNP-AC/PC, CCRN, CNE, FAANP, FCCM, is an associate clinical professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and a practicing pediatric intensive care unit nurse practitioner. She has been actively involved with the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) since 1995, serving on several committees, the most recent being the Social Media Committee. In her free time, you will find her reading and bicycling. Her clinical interests include pediatrics, gastrointestinal nutrition, and research. She reflects on the current challenges in critical care and her career.
Why do you love being in critical care? Critical care is where high-tech and high-touch meld to improve outcomes for patients of all ages. As our care has progressed in the pediatric ICU, our focus has moved beyond just survival to quality of life beyond our units for children and families. This means recognizing and working to mitigate the effects of post-intensive care syndrome in pediatrics (#PICSp) and improving functional outcomes.
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care? The ongoing staffing shortage across disciplines will challenge us long past COVID-19’s pandemic phase to its endemic phase.
Delivery of critical care happens in many environments worldwide but is not defined by a bed or physical structure. Rather, it is the availability, commitment, and expertise of those committed to delivering that care—to critically ill or injured children, in my case. When I talk to colleagues around the world, all are dealing with inadequate staff in multiple areas. We must focus on the creation and maintenance of healthy work environments to attract and retain workforce members. In addition, teaching and education must be valued and supported not only via wages but time.
Many are approaching retirement age, in addition to those exiting the workforce because of the pandemic and for other reasons. Without these resources, the critical care community cannot maintain, much less expand, our pool of new critical care professionals.
What is your biggest professional achievement? Certainly, becoming a Fellow in the American College of Critical Care Medicine is one I value highly, as it represents my work and commitment in this multiprofessional organization. In addition, my work as cochair of the inaugural World PICU Awareness Week held in May of this year was a favorite—bringing pediatric critical care to increased global awareness.
What do you love about SCCM membership? The multiprofessional nature of SCCM is a key draw for me. We care for patients in teams, and our education, research, and professional development should reflect that. SCCM allows engagement across specialties and areas of focus as well. Whether a critical care novice or expert, this is a professional home for everyone. The Pediatrics Section is where I can learn and grow professionally as well as in service and leadership.
Connect with @Ann-Marie Brown on SCCM Connect and on Twitter @brownam130