I grew up in Milwaukee, attended Marquette University High School, Marquette University and The Medical College of Wisconsin. My first experience with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin was as a patient during the summer of 1987. The hospital was on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, just a few blocks away from the starting line for Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital.
After my first night at Children’s Hospital as an inpatient, my next experience was as a volunteer playroom supervisor in 1992. I was in high school then and continued volunteering at the hospital through college. I started medical school in 1997. I left Milwaukee for the first time to do my residency training at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Family and memories of Children’s Hospital brought me back in 2005 for a fellowship in pediatric critical care.
On the fellowship application, I was asked to write a personal statement describing why I wanted to pursue critical care medicine. In my statement, I compared critical care medicine to my early career as a lifeguard at the Brown Deer Village Park & Pond in Brown Deer, Wis. I worked there during the summers starting in high school and continuing through medical school. I described being a life guard as 99 percent boring mixed with 1 percent of sheer excitement. As a young physician, I saw that 1 percent of adrenaline rush in emergency situations on the critical care units as the main draw to a career in critical care medicine.
Six years later, after completing my training and working as a staff physician in critical care, I have a different perspective. I still enjoy that 1 percent of adrenaline rush in emergency situations, but I have matured. I’ve discovered the 99 percent of time spent surveying the water can be very rewarding.
As a critical care staff physician here at Children’s Hospital, I lead a multidisciplinary team, all focused on one task: providing the best care to get the best outcome for every patient and family.
Our work is anything but boring. Thankfully, I have learned that while the 1 percent of adrenaline rush may have been what drew me to medical school, 99 percent of my time is spent in a rewarding environment of professionals dedicated to the care of our patients and families.
I invite you to join the critical care team at the starting line on Saturday, September 17 for the Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital. Sign up at www.alsrun.com.
Join us, there still is time to register. On your mark, get set, go!
~ Robert Niebler, MD, critical care physician, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin