Keith Lamb, RRT, RRT-ACCS, FAARC, FCCM, is a respiratory therapist (RT) at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. He joined the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) in 2010 and has been an active member. He is past chair of the Respiratory Care Section Steering Committee and is a member of the ACCM Fellowship Services Committee. His clinical interests include cardiovascular and pulmonary medicine and resuscitation. You can find him gardening, fishing, and reading during his free time. Mr. Lamb opens up about his path to critical care and some advances and trends in the field.
Why do you love being in critical care?
I love being a critical thinker and making a difference for critically injured and sick patients. I enjoy being able to teach and learn daily.
How did you get into critical care?
I spent a long time in the Marine Corps before training to be an RT. I wanted to help. I asked around and learned more about healthcare. Being an RT seemed to be a good fit for me. Once I began training, I was naturally drawn to the pace of critical care.
What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?
Look, listen, and learn. Find a mentor you respect and admire. You learn so many things during training academically, but you will learn so much more from those rock stars around you. Have an open mind and be willing to learn, even from unexpected sources.
What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?
Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) has become much more readily available since I began my career. With a better understanding of protective mechanical ventilation, clinicians also have a more thorough grasp of when ECLS may be indicated. Amazing technology.
What industry trends have you excited about the future?
The availability of more virtual teaching and learning opportunities, many of which have been developed during the pandemic. These tools are creating more information and resources at clinicians’ fingertips.
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?
One of the most challenging things facing us as critical care clinicians is avoiding burnout. In these difficult times, making an effort to disconnect even for brief periods of time to take care of ourselves is important. We are used to taking care of others and sometimes not as good at caring for ourselves.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
I have been so fortunate to be able to travel around the world to teach respiratory critical care. Maybe not as much an achievement as it is an honor but something that makes me proud—to promote my profession and to teach what I’ve learned to other dedicated professionals.
What do you love about SCCM membership?
I love the collegial and collaborative nature of the organization, like a large team working toward the same goals.
Connect with @Keith Lamb on SCCM Connect or on Twitter at @kdlamb1