I have served as the Division Chief of Perioperative Medicine here at Washington University since July 2022. In my role, I have a lot of variety in what my day looks like and I rarely have a truly “typical day.” My clinical work is split evenly between our Center for Preoperative Assessment and Planning (CPAP) and the cardiothoracic operating rooms at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. I also get to do a lot of other fun stuff: I’m the site PI for the THRIVE trial, I run the CPAP, I teach in the medical school, and I am involved in various health system initiatives around preop assessment… it’s cool.
For this “day in the life,” I decided to profile a typical day in our preoperative assessment clinic, where we do some really great work to get patients ready for surgery.
My typical day starts a little later than the ORs and I arrive at the hospital around 8 a.m. It’s a nice start to the day to be able to see my wife and kids for a little while before I head in. I spend a few minutes checking in with our nursing leadership to see if any major operational issues have come up that need to be addressed, and then I settle into clinic. I normally have a senior resident in clinic with me who helps with decision-making and assists our anesthesiology interns.
The first hour of my day is typically spent discussing follow-up issues from the previous clinic day: abnormal labs, records retrieved from outside hospitals, patient phone calls, etc. I also try to fit in some educational time for our residents rotating in clinic. It is uncommon in anesthesiology to have actual downtime to do structured teaching, so I try to do it when I’m there. Sometimes we discuss preoperative assessment topics and sometimes I share my musings on professional life and anesthesia, which they act like they enjoy. It’s also a great place to get to know our residents outside of a busy OR day.
Once clinic really starts to pick up, our nurse practitioners and residents will start coming in to discuss cases with me. I will typically hear about anywhere from 20-50 patients in a shift in addition to laboratory and record reviews that will continue to filter throughout the day. There is also a lot of discussion with surgeons and other anesthesiology leaders about case management and site candidacy that we work through.
My day typically wraps up around 6-6:30 p.m. and I make my way back home to Illinois. I am a native Southern Illinoisan, so I live on the other side of the river, but it’s only a 25-minute ride home. When the weather is nice and the sun stays out late, I like to hop on my bike and go ride the country roads by my house or out into St. Louis on the local mountain bike trails. Since its January, I’ve been spending more time playing basketball at the YMCA and riding on the trainer in the basement. And playing video games.
I love my job at WashU and the incredible variety that it provides. I get to take care of complex patients, work with great colleagues, and work on interesting operational and research projects. Thanks for reading!