Ask A Question


If you have a question about something not yet available on this blog, please ask your question in the comment section below. Your question may even be the inspiration for a new blog post that helps switch the lightbulb on for many others!


33 thoughts on “Ask A Question

  1. I have a question about the use of Calcium in the pathway. You mentioned in your article that any arrows going from 2,7,9, and 10 require Clacium. In the diagram, it looks like the red arrow (which I’m assuming is calcium) is pointing from at Fibrin which is Factor I? I might be misunderstanding that section and was hoping you could clarify for me! Thank you!


  2. Hello Joanne,
    working in a trauma unit we get quite a few patients with neuro trauma. Often they go into DI. My question is what are, how to calculate, and what is the relevance of urine and plasma osmolarity?


    • Apologies about the delay in responding to this question!

      In order to understand third spacing, there needs to be an understanding of the difference between the intracellular and extracellular space. The extracellular space consist of the intravascular compartment and the interstitial area. When you give a patient IV fluids, you are wanting it to stay in the intravascular department. However, sometimes you find that this is not the case. Fluid shifts from the intravascular into the interstitial spaces, the space between the intravascular department and the intracellular department. This accumulation results in what we see as oedema.

      In sepsis, your intravascular wall linings become “leaky” due to the various inflammatory mediators within the blood stream. There is also a possibility that the balance between the hydrostatic pressure (pressure that pushes fluid out of the intravascular space) and oncotic pull (pulling force that brings fluid back into the intravascular space) is lost; leading to fluid moving out of the intravascular space and not being able to be re-absorbed back in. This concept of fluid moving from what will help the blood pressure (intravascular department) to an area that will just retain the fluid without any benefit (interstitial department) is what we refer to as third spacing. It doesn’t happen only in sepsis, you can see it when a patient a large inflammatory response (big abdo surgery, cardiopulmonary bypass etc).

      I hope this answers your question πŸ™‚


  3. Hi, I just found this blog and it’s brilliant. Am doing ICU post grad and googling some of the concepts I need to know, and your explanations are really good! I notice there’s no recent new posts, so I’m not sure if you still update this blog or not- I’ll be checking back anyway to see if there are! (I can also provide plenty of suggestions for new topics!)


    • Hi Simone! Thank you for your lovely feedback! I have been absolutely snowed under with work (with all those ICU post grads starting), but still aim to be back posting regularly in March! Feel free to put forward as many suggestions as you like, they are always welcomed! Good luck with your course; it’ll be the busiest but most rewarding year!


  4. Jo, thank you for your time on my behalf. Since our staff may/ may not transition to grad school- I’m needing to build/ structure a comprehensive model to help them become ICU generalists. I’m thinking of making a passport- with each system being a country so to speak, with certain skills needing to be addressed and mastered… Anyway, I appreciate your help- you’ve given me lots to think about.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the passport idea! Very creative! And gives each person an incentive for completion! Perhaps the teaching could occur in themed months: January and February for Respiratory, March and April for Cardiac…so on and so forth! I hope that it all works out πŸ™‚


  5. Joanne,
    Thoroughly enjoy your blog. So well thought out and delivered, Thank You falls short. I fully appreciate your quest to educate in a clear and demystifying manner. being an ICU educator as well. A couple questions –
    I provide an ” article of the month” for the staff- Is it possible to have one of your articles /blog posts used in this manner? I would provide the link and any information you would like. Thoughts? the posts are so on-point and valuable i would love to share.
    I would like to create a pathway for generalist ICU nurses from novice to proficiency- over 2-5 year span. Are you aware of anything “out there” to help accomplish this by any educators? I have some ideas but do not want to re-invent the wheel if such a pathway exists.
    Thank you,
    Kerri Tillquist

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kerri,

      Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! I am more than happy for you to include any of my articles for the purposes of education through your unit; it is truly the greatest compliment! Also, I am always on the lookout for topic inspirations…so please feel free to let me know if there is anything specific that staff tend to ask a lot of questions around.

      In terms of the pathway of novice to proficiency in the generalist ICU nurse, I think it really depends on each unit’s requirements and the overall workforce. In my current unit, there are various programs that provide nursing staff with a steep learning curve. There is an intro to ICU which is 6 months of front loaded theory and 6 months of consolidation, with the intention of moving these nurses into post graduate studies for the following year. The intro program tends to be similar to the content of the first semester of the post grad, minus the academic writing. There is also a transition program for nurses with a post grad in a different area that focuses on the hurdle requirements around management of ICU patients.

      After the clinical knowledge is learnt, it is about consolidation of skills and preceptorship to the next influx of junior staff. This leads into leadership courses for those that move into a CNS role or team leader role. Usually the step up into a leadership role that demonstrates proficiency and role modeling normally takes around 3-4 years…

      I’m not sure if this is the type of information that you were after, or if I have completely misinterpreted the question…



  6. Dear Joanne
    I am really struggling to understand gas flow rates. I have read your blog on how flow rates determine FiO2, but my struggle is what the flow rate actually means. For example does 12l/min mean that 12l of gas is actually going into the patient per minute? The reason I don’t think this is the case is because when transporting patients on High Flow Nasal Cannula we cannot possibly have enough gas to last a 30 minute journey as that would need 360 litres.
    Many thanks, Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Amy,

      Flow rates are exactly what you have described. If at 10L/min…that means that 100L has been delivered in 10 minutes. A standard bottle of oxygen actually holds around 470L of gas. So even running at 15L/min, you still have 30 minutes of uninterrupted transport time. It’s for that reason that most people will swap to wall oxygen during a CT or MRI, so they can preserve what’s in the cylinder for the return trip (or take an additional oxygen cylinder for backup).

      Hope this helps!



    • Thank you for your lovely comment Lindy πŸ™‚

      It is fabulous to hear that the articles are helpful and that people are enjoying reading them!

      Please feel free to request any topics that you might find useful because chances are, someone else will find the same topic useful as well πŸ™‚



  7. Hi Joanna,

    Been following ur blog and must say u are doing an awesome job in making critical care topics easy to understand! I would like to understand more about CRRT and searching for the web very technical sites. Will you be able to write on the topic?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mantabeng,

      Thank you for the great feedback! I’m actually running training within my unit on the concepts of CRR at the moment, so will be easy to put something together for the next post.

      Stay tuned!


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