This thesis explored the emotional challenges in an intensive care unit (ICU) from two perspectives. Staying and working in the ICU can be two sides of the same coin; patients and their relatives on the one side and healthcare professionals on the other side, are connected to each other. Staying in the uncertain world of the ICU is never desirable for patients and their relatives; however, the negative impact of this stay might be diminished if they experience receiving optimal and quality care. Interventions that focus on person-centered care and encompass respect, dignity, and empathy, will have a positive influence on the users’ experiences. Healthcare providers in the ICU may play a crucial role and make a difference in the lives of the patients and their relatives. Although it should be emphasized that working in the ICU can be inspiring and pleasurable, it is essential to take care of the professionals and their emotional balance while working. An ICU is increasingly complex and physically, cognitively and emotionally demanding for the professionals, which might lead to distress while working. Occupational well-being is originally accompanied by feeling energized, focused, and optimistic. In their unsolicited role, patients and their relatives may contribute to this fulfillment of well-being. Overall, the ICU is a motivating world in which to work. We should keep it that way and strive for a healthy and successful working environment.

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J. Bakker (Jan) , E.J.O. Kompanje (Erwin) , M.D. Nijkamp (Marjan)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Financial support for the publication of this thesis by Ambidexter Management, the department of Intensive Care Medicine Erasmus MC, and Maquet the Netherlands B.V. is gratefully acknowledged
Department of Intensive Care

van Mol, M. (2017, June 21). Balancing Coincident Worlds : the emotional impact of patients’ relatives and professionals in the intensive care. Retrieved from