The Vital Role Of Critical Care Physicians In The ICU

Elderly woman being tended by two physicians

Critical care is an important branch of medicine that focuses on management of severely ill patients who need regular monitoring and evaluation. Hospitals require proper staffing to ensure effective patient management. For many hospitals, locum tenens physicians play a key role in improving patient outcome in intensive care units (ICUs).

What Do Critical Care Physicians Do?

The job of the critical care physician or intensivist is the primary healthcare provider for patients in the ICU. It is the intensivist’s responsibility to facilitate adjustments in technological devices to assist patients. These include mechanical ventilation settings, catheter monitoring, and other invasive parameters that require surveillance.

Physiologic Monitoring

Physiologic monitoring of blood pressure, heart rate, and urine output is one of the most significant duties of critical care physicians. The specialist determines the need for invasive procedures when a patient’s vital signs become unstable. They do extensive monitoring to detect mild changes that would require further medical or surgical intervention.

Catheter Insertion

Critical care physician jobs include insertion of central venous, systemic arterial and pulmonary arterial catheters. A locum tenens intensivist must perform catheter insertion for high-risk and severely ill patients. This invasive procedure is necessary to determine cardiac function and oxygen levels in the body to prevent irreversible tissue injury.


Sufficient ventilation among ICU patients is essential to ensure that tissues adequately receive oxygen for proper function. When lung damage occurs due to multiple organ failures, it is crucial to perform external ventilator support through intubation. A critical care specialist must determine the need for intubation because slight delays could cause permanent cell death. Intubation is necessary when there is a significant obstruction, excessive secretions, and decreased consciousness.

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The Bottom Line

Intensivists are trained to recognize the medical problems of critically ill patients. They could prevent complications that may arise unexpectedly. It is crucial to have locum tenens physicians who specialize in critical care medicine.