Member Spotlight: Fajun Wang, MD

By Amy Kuyken posted 15 days ago


Fajun Wang, MD, is a physician at SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He has been actively involved with the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) since 2020 and is a member of the Leadership, Empowerment, and Development Committee and the Multiprofessional Critical Care Review: Adult Committee. When outside the ICU, he works out and snowboards. His clinical interests include neurology, professional development, and quality and patient safety. Dr. Wang shares his professional critical care story.

Why do you love being in critical care?

I am often motivated by the significant impact that I have on the lives of critically ill or injured patients, finding fulfillment in the opportunity to save lives and improve patient outcomes. Critical care is characterized by a challenging and dynamic environment that demands quick thinking, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning, making every day unique and intellectually stimulating. It fosters multidisciplinary teamwork, allowing healthcare professionals to work closely with a diverse team of experts, enhancing the collaborative spirit and sense of collective purpose. The specialty is at the forefront of advanced medical technologies and treatments, offering the chance to work with cutting-edge interventions and stay abreast of medical advancements. This combination of making a tangible difference, working within a supportive team, and engaging with the latest medical innovations makes critical care a particularly rewarding field for me.

How did you get into critical care?

The critical care medicine/neurocritical care fellowship at UPMC was pivotal in my career, marking the beginning of an incredible journey into critical care. This experience, rigorous and enlightening, offered me a unique opportunity to dive deep into the complexities of neurocritical care, where each case presented a new challenge and a chance to significantly impact patient outcomes. The fellowship was not just about acquiring technical skills; it was a comprehensive journey of personal and professional growth, surrounded by some of the best mentors and colleagues in the field. Every second was a learning opportunity, filled with moments that shaped my approach to patient care and solidified my passion for critical care medicine. From mastering the management of acute neurologic emergencies to participating in cutting-edge research, the fellowship at UPMC opened doors to a fulfilling career path.

What do you see as the most challenging issues facing critical care?

One of the most pressing challenges in critical care is the inherent uncertainty in patient outcomes, which demands that healthcare professionals navigate a landscape filled with unknowns, often making high-stakes decisions with limited information. This uncertainty, coupled with the emotionally charged environment of critical care units, significantly impacts both healthcare teams and family members as they cling to hope while grappling with realistic expectations. Addressing this issue requires a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes teamwork, continuous learning, strong communication, and psychological support for staff to combat burnout. Enhancing resilience within critical care teams and advancing research for more precise treatments are crucial steps toward mitigating the emotional and professional challenges posed by the unpredictable nature of critical illnesses, ultimately striving to improve patient care and outcomes in this demanding field.

What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?

Work hard, have fun.

What are the top advances in critical care since you started your career?

Cerebral ultrasound

What is your biggest professional achievement?

Taking the lead on building a neurocritical care unit from scratch has been a monumental highlight of my career. It's a task I've thrown myself into wholeheartedly, overseeing every detail from the initial planning of patient care pathways to the intricate setup of multimodal monitoring strategies. This project, which is a work in progress, goes beyond just a professional undertaking; it's a deeply personal mission for me. A desire to create a place that stands as a beacon of hope and excellence for patients struggling with devastating neurologic injuries drives me.

What industry trends excite you about the future?

Noninvasive cerebral physiology monitoring

What do you love about SCCM membership?

SCCM membership is valuable for its comprehensive benefits catering to critical care professionals’ growth and development. By offering a wide range of educational resources, including webcasts, courses, and the Critical Care Medicine journal, SCCM ensures its members remain at the forefront of the field. SCCM also provides unparalleled networking opportunities, allowing members to connect with peers and experts, fostering a supportive community. SCCM advocates for critical care policies, enhancing patient care and research funding, while providing clinical resources, certification programs such as Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS), and professional development tools. Members can join special interest groups for more focused engagement and learning, enriching their experience and expertise in specific areas of critical care.

Connect with @Fajun Wang on SCCM Connect!