Jennifer L. LeTourneau, DO, MCR, FACP, FCCM, is a physician at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, USA. She joined the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) in 2006 and is vice-chair of the Graduate and Resident Education Committee. During her free time, she enjoys fishing and hiking. You can chat with her about her interests, including administration, professional development, and sepsis. Learn more about Dr. LeTourneau and her perspective on critical care.
Why do you love being in critical care?
I love critical care for the fast pace, pragmatic research, team-based practice, and interinstitutional collaboration on best practices.
How did you get into critical care?
As an internal medicine resident, I loved my ICU rotations for the intensity and the team-based environment. After finishing my residency, I spent three years in an underserved area in outpatient internal medicine practice as well as inpatient and ICU care in a critical access hospital. The part of my job I enjoyed the most was caring for patients in the ICU. I left practice for fellowship training in critical care, and I am still happy with that decision 16 years later.
What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?
The broad and successful addition of ECMO is definitely one of the major advances since I started in critical care. The other important advance is the integration of clinical pharmacists into the ICU team. I cannot imagine practicing critical care without either of those resources available.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
My greatest achievement in my critical care career was instituting a multiprofessional weekly meeting called “Best-ish Practices in COVID-19.” In March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I realized that we needed a better way for frontline critical care clinicians to quickly transmit knowledge in our region. I recruited speakers from across the country and had participants in multiple western states. This effort helped allay some of the stress and anxiety and helped affirm our approach to managing COVID-19 in our health systems.
What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?
New critical care clinicians need to understand that, as the science grows, our practices will change by necessity. Learning to evaluate research critically is key to providing the best care for our patients and communities.
What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?
Recruitment and retention of experienced critical care nurses and respiratory care practitioners is the most acute challenge we face in critical care.
What industry trends have you excited about the future?
I am excited about the concept of the integration of AI and personalized medicine to help us better understand the best treatments for individuals. I am also intrigued by how the microbiome/pathobiome plays a role in sepsis prognosis and perhaps, someday, management.
What do you love about SCCM membership?
SCCM provides a collaborative multiprofessional atmosphere where I can learn from my colleagues.
Connect with @Jennifer LeTourneau on SCCM Connect or Twitter @drjenletourneau