A Day in the Life

Day in the Life: Melissa Milbrandt

My alarm goes off, and the first thing I get to do each morning is let my dog, Tillie, out of her kennel and watch her enthusiastically greet the day. My fiancé, Derek, is a resident, so he is typically headed out the door before me, but if we’re lucky and he has a later start, we will make lattes together and watch Tillie play outside. If I am by myself, I take Tillie on a quick walk and then get ready for the day.

My days are always different, which is a really exciting part of my job. I am a business leader in our pediatric and obstetric anesthesiology divisions and our perioperative innovation center in the perioperative medicine and innovation divisions. I feel very fortunate to work with so many fantastic clinicians and staff across our department every day!

Thaddeus Budelier, Dr. Fritz, Dr. Murray-Torres, Dr. Gregory, Me, and Dr. Higo in the Perioperative Innovation Center
Pediatric Anesthesiology Division photo

As I walk from the garage to St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH), I am on my phone, looking at what meetings I have and reviewing any outstanding emails or messages I need to respond to. I get to wave at a few kids and chat with colleagues as I make my way to my office in the anesthesiology suite. Once I am settled in, I typically start preparing for the day’s meetings. I review reports, analyze data, and review notes from previous meetings or related emails.

I head next door to meet with Dr. Njoku and Meredith McLaughlin to prepare for our annual pediatric anesthesiology retreat. We discuss speakers, content, the flow of the day, and Jilly’s cupcake flavors! Recruitment and retention is the theme of this year’s retreat. I then hop into a meeting with Dr. Palanisamy to discuss our OB staffing model and review this quarter’s call count distribution. Next is a meeting with Thaddeus Budelier and Thomas Kannampallil to discuss the upcoming launch of the recovery control tower in our perioperative innovation center, and brainstorm on lunch and learn topics. Afterward, Tiffany Peppers and I are meeting with Mary Sommer, Sofia Delgado, and Jake Meinkoth from the reporting team to go over any updates to the pediatric anesthesiology reports.

At this point in the day, many people have dropped by to ask a question or chat. I always keep a running list of project ideas and questions from these drop-ins. The follow-up to many of these questions involves me messaging my boss, Randall Stateler, on Teams, until we eventually call each other (thank you, Randall). I have a quick lunch and then grab a piece of candy from Dr. Weinhold’s stash in her office 🙂

Pediatric Anesthesiology holiday party

In the latter half of the day, I typically look ahead and figure out who I need to engage with and what I need to investigate to meet upcoming deadlines. We are currently kicking off our hospital contract negotiations in pediatric anesthesiology, so I’ve been working closely with Dr. Njoku and other clinical and business leaders in our department on compiling information and presenting it to our hospital partners. We are in budget season, so I spend time each day digging through profit and loss statements, evaluating our past performance, and looking for growth or cost-cutting opportunities. I am working closely with the reporting and finance teams to meet budget milestones. I finish my day by clearing up any outstanding emails and making a to-do list for tomorrow.

I listen to music on the short drive to my gym, and I make it there just in time for a Pilates class. When I get home, Derek tells me our friends are at the pickleball courts, so we head to Tower Grove Park and play a few games. We just got new paddles that have really improved our play! After pickleball, we head home and start dinner. We both love to cook and try out new recipes, but tonight, we keep it simple and make tomato soup with grilled cheese. We spend the rest of the evening hanging out with Tillie and catch half an episode of Master Chef before heading to bed.