• The stresses present within the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) affect both patients and staff. The liaison psychiatrist attached to the unit helps in identifying and neutralizing tension displaced from its source. Death, although commonplace on the unit, often engenders strong feelings in the staff. Pulmonary patients, especially those who must be weaned from the respirator, also increase the psychological strain on the staff beyond the necessary effort involved in physical caretaking. Aside from the emotional difficulty presented by working with very sick patients, there exists group pressures resulting from hierarchy within the staff. Here, particularly, the psychiatrist can promote understanding and reduce polarization.
(Arch Surg 111:118-119, 1976)