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

From the Directors Desk
Resilience: For a Longer Journey

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACSHeidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

By now, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached deep into our work, homes, and lives. It has sickened nearly 2 million, taken the lives of more than 100,000 across the globe, disrupted our daily rhythms and products, and taken away many of the joys that punctuate our existence. Record numbers of people are now unemployed, and the financial fallout is starting to reach people we care about. Weddings, athletic competitions, graduations, and so many important human celebrations will pass without the customary fanfare and congratulatory recognition. We are probably all experiencing some level of grief, be it a little or a lot, and we have all lost something in this crisis. 

If history serves us well, we know deep down that we will endure, overcome, and most likely emerge stronger for it once we recover. We may learn hard lessons, and we may need to find new ways of conducting our business, but we will get through this. We have already learned that the impact of the pandemic is not measured in weeks, but will likely span at least one, maybe two, seasons and that “normal” in the future may not resemble “normal” of the past. It is becoming clearer that a sprint to the finish won’t work. Perhaps if we can acknowledge that our crisis is shifting from one overwhelming, acute problem to a series of smaller, chronic problems that we can tackle one at a time and together as teams, we can acknowledge our loss, take hope in the future, and prepare properly for a longer journey to the new normal that we will build together.