Professor Alan Šustić

Three weeks ago, Professor Alan Šustić, Ph.D., was appointed Head of the COVID-19 Viral Infection Respiratory Center. He and his team have continued to invest maximum professional and human effort in this unprecedented and until the recently unimaginable situation in a global society. Hence, they adapt to the new situation the best they can.

Alan Šustić is a professor with tenure, and more widely known as a doctor with two specializations – anesthesiology and intensive care, as well as those in the field of emergency medicine, while he gained subspecialization in intensive medicine. He is the Head of the Department of Intensive Medicine at the Clinic for Anesthesiology, Intensive Medicine and Pain Therapy at the Clinical Hospital Center Rijeka. In the academic community, he is well-known as the Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies and the Head of the Department of Anesthesiology, Reanimatology, Emergency, and Intensive Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka.

We contacted Prof. Šustić and asked what his ordinary day looks like in these unusual circumstances, how he adjusts, not only professionally but also privately, and whether he manages and how to deal with all his obligations and his hobbies.

Working in these conditions is not very different from the usual days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). They analyze patients’ status, devise treatment and care plans, briefly discuss the patients with fellow physicians and nurses. The only difference is that the discussion is not conducted near the patient’s bed but in separate rooms, while in the ICU itself there is only the necessary staff observed with cameras.

His hobbies include cycling and working out in the gym. However, since all citizens should respect the measures and exercise social distancing, he needed to adjust to new working and living conditions. Professor Šustić claims these are much more challenging and difficult times for nurses who are constantly taking care of the infected. If some should be deemed a hero of this pandemic or this time, it is most definitely the nurses in intensive care units. They represent the basis of a (good) healthcare system, and not, as often stated, the doctors.

As per his obligations at the Faculty, with the help of his associates, he has prepared online courses for the rest of the academic year. He updates them on the go, as his schedule permits, and regularly meets with the Faculty Management via Skype, Zoom or any other tool.

Professor Šustić concluded our online meeting with a famous quote from John Lennon: Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.