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

A New Normal

Christopher DuCoin, MDWe have hit the one-year mark with COVID-19. We’ve been through telehealth, shut downs, and uncertainty. We’ve talked about the new normal, getting vaccinated, and being on the other side of it all. Sometimes I wonder if that other side will ever really get here. I think most in the Young Fellows Association (YFA) will remember the movie Back to the Future. When Marty McFly was on a hoverboard in the future, that future was 2015. Yet here we are in 2021, and still no hoverboards. I wonder about this new normal and getting back to how things were, and I think of the next surgical meeting we will attend. Yet the meetings seem to keep getting pushed back, and I get it, but I also miss the human interaction of being a surgeon with other surgeons, talking about surgery. It is just so special, and I hope we don’t forget that.

Just recently I was asked to give an in-person, hands-on course to five surgeons. I got on a plane, traveled for work, taught the course, and flew home. It was an out-of-this-world experience—not the course so much, but the human connection. Within a few hours I didn’t just meet five new colleagues, I made five new friends. Now, before you start down that path, we were all vaccinated, I was tested, and I wore an N-95 mask and face-shield while traveling (yes, I was that guy). It was worth it. It was just so great to talk shop again, lament about residents, laugh at old surgical jokes, and learn something new about surgery, the art we all love. I bring this up, this story of connection, in an attempt to engage you all, to become active in our distance. To connect.

Right now, there is more action than ever on social media. Join in, listen, talk, engage in any of our accounts—@yfaacs, @RASACS, @AmCollSurgeons. Just stay active.

There is also the YFA Speakers Bureau. It’s an amazing place to find experts on surgical topics for your Grand Rounds or sub-specialty lecture. Invite someone to your institution to give a talk. Engage each other in this time of distance.

In the end, I am not sure the hoverboard will get here (#physics), but I do know that meetings will be back, I know that human connection will happen. I only had a small taste of it recently, but I can tell you it’s different, it’s better, and it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, please stay connected. We will see you on social media, and sometime soon we will see you in person at a national meeting.

Till our paths cross (in person),

Christopher DuCoin, MD, FACS
Chair, YFA Communications Workgroup