Nordic Research

Dr Mona Ringdal

Date: Wednesday 30 September 2015, 5.00pm

Nightmares, Pain and Human Contact: Patients' Memories from Intensive Care

Event details

Venue: Lecture Theatre 183, Old College

Date: Wednesday 30 September 2015, 5.00pm


Mona Ringdal RN, MN, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is the programme director for postgraduate nursing in: Anaesthetic, Theater and Critical Care and District nursing as well as for a Master programme in nursing. In 2015, the Critical Care programme Mona convenes was the only one out of 47 Critical Care programme in Sweden to be ranked as Excellent by the Swedish Higher Education authority.

After completing her dissertation, “Memories and Health Related Quality of Life - in patients with trauma cared for in the Intensive Care Unit” in 2008 Mona held a visiting postdoctoral fellowship at Griffith University, Australia where she continued her research in trauma recovery. She has several ongoing projects with involving international collaboration.

Mona pursues a number of research interests. These relate to (1) critical care patients’ memories and recovery from critical illness, for which she has achieved several awards, (2) exploration of the experiences of and conditions for patients during and after intensive care, (3) evaluating and exploring patients’ health during recovery from critical illness, (4) patient safety during transport of critical care patients and (5) patient participation in acute care (collaboration with Griffith University). An upcoming collaboration with Canadian researchers looks at the weaning process of mechanically ventilated intensive care patients. Mona uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies and she has published widely in peer-reviewed international journals as well as contributed a chapter in the 2012 edition of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurse’s (ACCCN) textbook on respiratory assessment and monitoring.

Lecture abstract

The lecture will address our vulnerability as a patient when we become seriously ill or injured and need intensive care. Being critically ill in an intensive care unit (ICU) puts patients into a position in which they are dependent on healthcare professionals. “To have someone’s life in your hands” is an ethically challenging situation for nurses and physicians.

Nightmares, vivid hallucinations and pain are common experiences of ICU patients during their stay. Despite sedation, some patients do, for example, overhear conversations at their bedside or remember some of their time in ICU. Negative experiences during their ICU stay are often remembered a long time after ICU and can become a burden for these patients.

This lecture will suggest that positive memories can be created through family visitation in ICU, good caring relationships and timely pain relief. Nevertheless, many ICU patients experience problems with their physical and psychological health years after their critical illness. One aspect of my research investigates whether patient diaries and follow-up conversations after ICU have an impact on overall ICU outcome.