The Zentensivist Manifesto Defining the Art of Critical Care

Matthew T. Siuba, Christopher L. Carroll, Joshua D. Farkas, Segun Olusanya, Kylie Baker, Ognjen Gajic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Evidence-based medicine asks us to integrate the best available evidence with clinical experience and patient values. In the modern intensive care unit, the primary focus is on complex technology and electronic health records, often away from the bedside. Excess interventionism is the norm. The term "intensivist"itself implies an intensive management strategy, which can lead us away from a patient-centered practice and toward iatrogenic harm. Under the hashtag #zentensivist, an international, multiprofessional group of clinicians has begun to discuss via Twitter how to apply key principles of history taking, physical examination, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical research in a competent, compassionate, and minimalist fashion. The term "zentensivist"intentionally combines concepts seemingly at odds - Zen philosophy and intensive care-to describe a holistic approach to the art of caring for the critically ill. We describe the key tenets of zentensivist practice and how we may inspire these actions in those we lead and educate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalATS Scholar
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Critical care
  • evidence-based medicine
  • minimalist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Education
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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