American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Resident and Associate Society Symposium

Reframing Surgical Leadership in 2017: Captain of the Ship, or a Worker on the Line?

Sunday, October 22
3:00–5:30 pm

During this session, young surgeons and experienced surgeons will debate such issues as:  What should surgical leadership look like in the 21st century? Should we strive for a seat at the table of business, policy, and politics? Or should we strengthen our commitment to direct patient care, surgical education, and research? These questions will be featured and debated at the 2017 RAS-ACS Symposium.

A changing regulatory and social environment has led to diminished individual surgeon autonomy in the operating room and in patient care. Historically, the surgeon was the “Captain of the Ship” inside and outside of the operating room. In 2017, the surgeon is one of the many members of a health care team, often with quite limited autonomy. In the current environment of ever-increasing focus on quality, safety, and outcomes, every aspect of surgical care is scrutinized—from our training models, to our patient care practices, to our operating room attire. While surgeons welcome changes that improve patient outcomes, many are troubled by the increasing regulatory and administrative burdens leading to further loss of autonomy. How can surgeons preserve their role as leaders in patient care? Some in our community advocate for increased surgeon involvement in the world of healthcare policy and politics, business and regulation. Other surgeons want to refresh the traditional roles of service, education, and innovative research.