Dr. Linda X. Wu is a clinical instructor with the WashU School of Medicine. In addition to working at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as a pediatrician and teaching medical students and residents, she’s finished her second semester as a member of Olin’s Professional MBA Class 48, concentrating in healthcare and entrepreneurship.
We caught up with Linda to learn more about what it’s like to work and study at WashU.
Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?
My background is in engineering, so I have a natural tendency for problem solving. I would like to design medical solutions, from creating new devices to solving workflow issues. I hoped to gain the business knowledge for entrepreneurship and establish new startups.
How has the pandemic changed your day-to-day work?
I’m a general pediatrician within the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and its community sites within the hospitalist division, meaning I work only in the hospital and not in the outpatient clinic. I spend about 50% of my time in the emergency room taking care of anything that walks in—from difficulty breathing such as asthma, to a broken arm from falling off the monkey bars.
I also spend a good deal of time with patients admitted to the hospital, taking care of newborn babies that were just delivered, helping the neonatologist out in the neonatal intensive care unit, providing sedation for procedures and circumcisions. There’s no “typical” day, and that’s what makes this job so much fun! I’m also faculty at the School of Medicine and enjoy teaching medical students and residents.
These days, many things have changed and not much has changed. We have daily updated protocols on how to treat COVID-19 patients and what we need to do to protect ourselves. As for the actual medicine, the fundamentals are the same. Kids still show up in the ER with cuts and belly aches, and babies are still being born—so life at work keeps rolling. I do miss seeing everyone’s bright smiles, but I can tell they’re smiling underneath their masks by the sparkle in their eyes.
What are you most proud of as a pediatrician right now?
I get to work daily alongside such a wonderful group of compassionate, dedicated and giving healthcare staff. The hospital is a scary place to be these days, yet people still consistently show up to work and put in 100%. It takes a lot to run a hospital and it truly is the definition of teamwork. I am grateful for everyone’s hard work during this pandemic.
The hospital is a scary place to be these days, yet people still consistently show up to work and put in 100%. It takes a lot to run a hospital and it truly is the definition of teamwork.
What’s it like working on your MBA during this time?
I have an excellent PMBA small team. They have been flexible and accommodating with my changing work schedule as this pandemic has unfolded, and we have worked well on Zoom. We already had good team dynamics and ground rules established from previous semesters working together, so it was easy to translate that into the virtual space.
What should people to know right now?
Please listen to your healthcare professionals—and news and people with established credentials. There are many rumors and fake news spreading out there that’s worsening everyone’s anxiety and fears. Social distancing works and is our best bet in protecting ourselves right now, so please stay strong!
My heart goes out to all of those affected by the pandemic—from people who have lost a loved one, to worried nights of being sick, to financial hardships we’re all struggling through.
And thank you to the volunteers who have donated so much of the little they had to help us within the hospitals. We cannot appreciate you enough!
How are you and your colleagues making values-based, data-driven decisions?
Just like business, medicine is a very data-driven and evidence-based profession. Even though there are still many unknowns and even more moving parts, the leadership within Washington University School of Medicine and BJH has been impressive, providing us with timely and reliable medical facts, situational awareness of what is going on within our hospitals and innovative solutions (such as solutions to the shortage of personal protective equipment). I know each decision was meticulously calculated based on data and thoroughly thought out for its broad and sustained impact.