Jozef Kesecioglu is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the Department of Intensive Care Medicine, University Medical Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

We asked Prof. Kesecioglu our 7 questions:

1. What are your key areas of interest and research?
Selective decontamination of the digestive tract, ethics and the intensive care environment.

2. What are the major challenges in your field?
In recent years, the greatest challenge has been to continue the provision of the best possible care to patients and their families despite decreasing resources.

3. What is your top management tip?
Do not look at what you have and what you can achieve with it. It will limit your achievements. It is important to aim for top results and then set out on what is necessary to achieve them.

4. What would you single out as a career highlight?
If I may, I would like to mention two. Firstly, I would say the formation of a multidisciplinary intensive care organisation in University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC) 10 years ago. Previously there were four separate intensive care units organised in the hospital, working independently from each other. Since the structural reorganisation (which took a couple of years to complete), every patient, independent of the underlying pathology, can be admitted in any of the 36 ICU beds.

Secondly, I am especially proud of the role I played in leading the fully redesigned patient and family centred state of the art ICU in UMC Utrecht (editor’s note: see video below). The ICU won the 2011 ICU Design Citation Award, which is co-sponsored by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and the American Institute of Architects Academy on Architecture for Health (AIA).  This was a considerable accomplishment for us at UMC Utrecht, since this was the first time in 20 years that it was awarded to an ICU outside North America.  

5. If you had not chosen this career path you would have become a…?
Control engineer.

6. What are your personal interests outside of work?
Cooking, reading.

7. Your favourite quote?
Institutions at the level of excellency do not suffer by the departure of individuals working at any level. Individuals are temporary while institutions are permanent.

Prof. Kesecioglu completed his medical education and training in anaesthesia and intensive care at the Medical School of the University of Istanbul, Turkey, where he was later appointed as the head of intensive care. After moving to the Netherlands in 1989, he worked at Erasmus Medical Center and Sophia Children’s Hospital Rotterdam as an anaesthetist and paediatric intensivist respectively. He moved to Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam as the deputy director, and became interim director in the same department, before taking up his current position in 2002 in University Medical Center in Utrecht. He has reorganised the four intensive care units and made one department of it before designing and moving to the new, award winning, state-of-the-art ICU. He is currently the chair of the Management Team of the Division of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine.

Professor Kesecioglu served as Chairman of the Ethics Section of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM). After finishing his term, he was elected as the Chair of the Division of Scientific Affairs of ESICM. He has also represented ESICM in the workgroup concerning "An official ATS/AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM Policy Statement: Responding to Requests for Potentially Inappropriate Treatments in Intensive Care Units".

Professor Kesecioglu has authored around 100 published or in-press peer-reviewed papers and has presented at many scientific meetings. His main interests are ethics, the intensive care environment and selective decontamination of the digestive tract.

View the Intensive Care UMC Utrecht video


Kesecioglu J, Schneider MME (2012) The intensive care unit of tomorrow: a case study of patient-centred care. ICU Management, 12(1): 12-3.

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