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Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, assistant professor of clinical medicine
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical CenterVIEW PROFILE
When Lynn Fussner, M.D. (I ’13, CTSA ’15, THDC ’16), was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Mayo Clinic, she received a Karis Award for demonstration of Mayo Clinic and Franciscan values. Now on staff at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where she received her undergraduate and medical degrees, Dr. Fussner refers back to those values that she says blossomed at Mayo Clinic. “A large academic medical center has many moving parts, but what we really should focus on is how to take care of the patient in front of us. We should give them our full attention, and connect them with the right resources. Mayo Clinic emphasizes the importance of the patient very well and is a strong example to other institutions.”
“Mayo Clinic emphasizes collegiality for patient-centered care. Mayo physicians naturally pick up the phone and discuss challenging situations with their colleagues. This spirit of multidisciplinary care is something I’ve carried with me to Ohio State.”
Within the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, I clinically attend on the inpatient medical ICU and pulmonary consultation services, and outpatient multidisciplinary vasculitis clinic. Continuing work I did as a fellow at Mayo Clinic, we have several research projects underway looking at biomarkers and mechanisms of inflammation in alveolar hemorrhage and systemic vasculitis, along with multiple clinical trials.
I am fortunate and grateful to have a strong mentor in Ulrich Specks, M.D. (I ’87, THD ’92, chair, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine), at Mayo Clinic. I had the opportunity to learn from him in the lab and in the clinic during fellowship, and we continue to collaborate regularly.
I have always loved science, and took a physiology class in high school that piqued my interest. (Thank you, Mrs. Fout!) I loved learning about the body’s checks and balances, and how organ systems interact and communicate. Going into college, I knew I wanted to be a physician.
I’m from Middletown, Ohio, and did my undergraduate and medical school training at Ohio State, where I am today. I wanted to experience another medical system and a different part of the country. I did an away rotation at Mayo Clinic during my fourth year of medical school and was very impressed by Mayo’s commitment to education and the energy of the faculty. I fell in love with the academic environment and collegial system at Mayo Clinic.
Rochester is not a big city, but it has everything you need. Mayo has quite a concentration of world experts across the board who are incredibly accomplished but very down to earth — all with a clear commitment to ensuring that trainees learn formally and informally. Throughout my time at Mayo, fellowship program director Kannan Ramar, M.B.B.S., M.D. (THDCC ’06), embodied this. He is a phenomenal teacher on his own — skilled at breaking down complicated topics. He also worked hard to ensure that the program optimized fellows’ learning opportunities.
Mayo Clinic emphasizes collegiality for patient-centered care. Mayo physicians naturally pick up the phone and discuss challenging situations with their colleagues. This spirit of multidisciplinary care is something I’ve carried with me to Ohio State.
If I’m in the middle of rounds and have a complex patient with multiple consulting services, I don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call a colleague to discuss how we can best work together for the patient.
During residency I loved every rotation and considered many fields. Critical care medicine affords me the opportunity to analyze all the organ systems and how they interact — the physiology that captured my imagination back in high school. It is a unique privilege to work with families in the ICU during a very tough time in their lives. Having important conversations about patient priorities is an element of the role that I take very seriously. Pulmonology provides balance on the outpatient side, with both acute and chronic concerns that allow us to impact patients’ quality of life.
From my time at Mayo, I am especially proud of the Karis Award, reflecting Mayo Clinic values. In my few years at Ohio State, I am most proud of the multidisciplinary vasculitis clinic. It is something that I had the opportunity to build from the ground up with colleagues in nephrology and rheumatology and — with great support from our divisions and department — truly focus on patient-centered care.
The transition to the first year on faculty was challenging and presented opportunities to grow and develop — getting to know a new EMR (the same system just implemented at Mayo), connecting with research resources and being more of an independent decision-maker. Working closely with trainees is a privilege and keeps me on my toes. After three years as an attending physician, I’m getting more comfortable in my leadership role and really enjoy the opportunity to teach.
This phase is exciting, though, and an opportunity to really determine what I want my career to look like.
Remember what drew you to medicine in the first place. The long hours and stress can be challenging, and there will be times when you wonder if a different life route would be more appealing. I will never forget my first day of residency, working on the inpatient internal medicine service. I thought, “What on earth did I get myself into?” I can still picture the patients I admitted that day. Luckily, I had a supportive team around me. Working as a team and learning together gets you through those moments.
Focus on and connect with each patient. Trust that you have a lot to offer them and that you will learn a great deal from them. Talking with patients and their families is the most centering and motivating part of medicine, putting everything right back on track.
My husband, Kevin, and I love to travel, cook, try new restaurants and tend to our vegetable garden. We are both from Ohio, so many of our friends and family are here. Our dog, Walter, an adopted hound mix, keeps us busy, too. It’s fun to come home to his smiling face and wagging tail at the end of the day.
See past New Chapter stories here.