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

Well-Being and Assistance

COVID-19, Burnout and Caring for Yourself

COVID-19 is revealing the burnout, stress, fatigue and other well-being issues that health care professionals manage in their careers. Well-being and self-care often take lower priority during stressful, challenging times. The American College of Surgeons is committed to helping you navigate your well-being throughout this difficult time.

No historical narrative or intellectual awareness could prepare surgeons, physicians and other health care professionals for their experiences treating patients in this pandemic. The sudden and devastating deaths by suicide of health care professionals highlight the unprecedented and incredible mental health and well-being challenges that surgeons, physicians and other health care professionals are experiencing.

Managing and mitigating burnout as a health care professional is not something you have to do alone. Building resilience, maintaining well-being and practicing self-care involve systems of support, including health care institutions, colleagues, family, friends, professional organizations and others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, surgeons are adapting to their patients’ needs through redeployment to critical care and other specialties and rethinking the practice of surgery. Attention to well-being and mental health must  accompany these shifts and changes in tandem. This attention to health care workforce well-being and mental health is important regardless of racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identity and calls on all surgeons to lead at the front lines.

Resilience, purpose and optimism become important skills and attributes to focus on and continue to develop moving forward throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As you shift your mindset to leading during COVID-19, working in new environments, working from home, quarantining and so on, the American College of Surgeons remains committed to providing tools and resources to support you.

One step you can take today is using the ACS Surgeon Well-Being Index. This video guide is a useful resource on how to use the Physician Well-Being Index, and more information is available in the user guide. To start using the tool, Associate Fellows and Fellows can use the code fellow20 and residents can use the code resident20. As always, the Well-Being Index is 100 percent anonymous—your information and score are private and will not be shared with anyone, including the ACS. Access for International members is not currently available.

Mental Health

Burnout made me quit my transplant practice. Front-line workers need help, too. Source: The Washington Post

Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn into Stress Source: Harvard Business Review

Front-Line Physicians Stressed and Anxious at Work and Home Source: UCSF

Fanning the flames: the impact of COVID-19 on physician burnout Source: Medical Economics

‘It Just Broke Me’: Health Workers Struggle For Time To Grieve Patients Lost To COVID-19 Source: NPR-wbur

Our Family’s Tragedy: Dr. Lorna Breen Is the Canary in the Coal Mine Source: US News

Doctor’s Suicide Sparks Mental Health Bill in Senate Source: JEMS

It Is Time to Stop Stigmatizing Mental Health Among Healthcare Workers Source: Forbes

After the surge, the psychological impact of Covid-19 is hitting home Source: Wired

Mental health challenges of U.S. healthcare professionals during COVID-19 Source: Frontiers in Psychology

How the pandemic casts physician burnout in new light Source: AMA

The Next Blaze: Pandemic Burnout Among Health Professionals Source: TCT MD

Preventing a Parallel Pandemic — A National Strategy to Protect Clinicians’ Well-Being Source: NEJM

Impact of COVID‐19 on the mental health of surgeons and coping strategies Source: Journal of the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and Neck

Mental wellbeing and burnout in surgical trainees: Implications for the post‐COVID ‐19 era Source: BJS Society

Health Disparities

Addressing Racial Health Disparities In The COVID-19 Pandemic: Immediate And Long-Term Policy Solutions Source: Health Affairs

‘To be safe means to be healthy’ — Expert on racial health disparities Source: Medical News Today

Four ways health systems can start to address social disparities Source: Fortune

Health Care Leadership

What One Health Care CEO Is Learning from the Pandemic Source: Harvard Business Review

7 ways to address physicians’ pandemic stress Source: AMA