Connor McNamara, MD, MS, is an anesthesiologist and assistant professor of critical care medicine and anesthesiology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Dr. McNamara joined SCCM in 2017 and is on the Social Media Committee. His clinical interests include quality and patient safety, nutrition, ethics, and end-of-life care. When not working, you can find him learning about space. Get to know your fellow SCCM member as he shares more about his path to critical care and where he sees the future of the specialty.
Why do you love being in critical care?
I love taking care of patients and guiding families through the most challenging periods of their lives.
How did you get into critical care?
Critical care has always been an interest of mine. During medical school, I gravitated toward taking care of the sickest patients. I enjoyed the real-time physiology that both anesthesiology and critical care offered. In addition, helping patients and their families through a challenging time in their lives has been my passion.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
I serve as the program director for our Anesthesia Critical Care Fellowship at University Hospitals in Cleveland. My colleague, Colin McCloskey, MD, and I rebuilt the fellowship curriculum. We aimed to create a multidisciplinary learning environment, drawing on the different backgrounds that funnel into critical care. Our first fellow class since we instituted this curriculum is about to graduate. Watching the fellows learn and grow in this system into full-fledged intensivists has been very rewarding.
What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?
Critical care is a dynamic specialty requiring lifelong learning. Part of this learning requires critical examination of medical literature. Acquiring this skill early in training allows the incorporation of landmark studies immediately into clinical practice.
What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?
Advances in monitoring techniques beyond the typical vital signs have been an exciting development. These devices, such as pulse waveform analysis of arterial lines, have improved significantly, even during my short career. Further advances in this technology and artificial intelligence will only improve the accuracy of these devices.
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?
Currently, in the United States, there are multiple paths to critical care because it is a multidisciplinary specialty. In my opinion, our specialty would improve with a single critical care track. During training, a fellow would receive the perspective of multiple specialties, drawing on their unique perspectives. An intensivist trained in this manner would bring a different perspective to clinical care.
What industry trends have you excited about the future?
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is becoming ever-present in the modern ICU. This technology has become smaller and more portable. In addition, new applications for it are described frequently. In my opinion, POCUS will progress to the standard of care and is essential for the 21st-century intensivist.
What do you love about SCCM membership?
SCCM provides the ability to connect with like-minded professionals as a community to work together to improve the lives of the critically ill.
Connect with @Connor McNamara on SCCM Connect or on Twitter at @cmm_md