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

New!

Well-Being in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted March 31, 2020

At present, 52 percent of surgeons report that they are experiencing burnout, and COVID-19 is adding to our professional demands. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is committed to the health and well-being of surgeons and other members of the health care community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is particularly important to create space to care for oneself amidst the increased demands of caring for patients, providing additional support to hospital systems and staff, managing workload, and navigating the impact that COVID-19 has on individuals, families, communities, hospitals, and our world.

The Surgeon Well-Being section of the ACS website is continually updated with curated articles, resources, and tools focused on well-being. One invaluable benefit available to Fellows and other members of the organization is the ACS Surgeon Well-Being Index, a validated, confidential screening tool that helps them better understand their overall well-being and provides targeted resources to fit your needs.

Visit Surgeon Well-Being

This resource also identifies apps such as Calm and Headspace that offer guided meditations for mindfulness, stress, movement, and sleep. Following recommendations from the ACS to curtail “elective” surgical procedures, surgeons also may have more time and resources available to assist your colleagues and the surgical and health care communities. Moreover, helping others is beneficial for your own mental health and well-being. Ways surgeons can help during this unprecedented time include donating blood, staying in touch with colleagues, supporting local organizations and businesses, and checking in on vulnerable neighbors.

Tips

  • Check with your hospital or practice to see if an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for any additional support. EAPs typically include assessments, counseling, and referrals for additional services to employees with personal and/or work-related concerns, such as stress, financial issues, legal issues, family problems, office conflicts, and alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Use support systems in place, such as reaching out to mentors, peers, colleagues, significant others, family, and friends.
  • Remind yourself of the signs and symptoms of stress, fatigue, and burnout:
    • Exhaustion
    • Depersonalization
    • Lack of efficacy

How You Can Help

The calling of medicine is immensely rewarding, and a surgeons’ career is dedicated to serving patients and the greater good. Following recommendations from the ACS to curtail “elective” surgical procedures, you may have more time and resources available to assist your colleagues and the surgical and health care communities. Moreover, helping others is beneficial for your own mental health and well-being. Here are ways you can help during this unprecedented time:

Donate Blood

The American Red Cross has an ongoing critical need for blood products as demand increases while blood drives continue to be cancelled at a rapid rate. Learn more and schedule a blood donation through the American Red Cross or your local blood bank. 

Connect with Colleagues

Colleagues throughout your hospital system are working beside you to provide high-quality care in limited resource environments. You can support these colleagues through simple acts such as sending meals to the hospital, and reaching out by phone, text, or email to check in on their mental and physical well-being.

Support Local Organizations and Businesses

In addition to health care systems, social service agencies continue to provide critical resources to vulnerable populations. Small businesses also require the support of their greater community during this time.    

  • Donate to or volunteer at your local food bank
    Food banks and other organizations that address food insecurity are experiencing increased demand right now. Feeding America has information on the needs of food banks in your local community.
  • Support small businesses
    Small businesses are especially vulnerable during economic downturns. Consider supporting local restaurants and stores by purchasing gift cards.
  • Collaborate with neighbors to check in on vulnerable community members
    Vulnerable members of your community may need your help. Volunteering to help with tasks such as grocery shopping or errands can go a long way for those who may require extra assistance.

Previous Posts