Who bears the responsibility for the health and well-being of surgeons in the system? As surgeons, we operate in silos. Rarely are our teams consistent. We’re in competition with one another for OR time and patients.
Our specialty societies offer meetings with talking heads telling us how “to do” wellness (I would know, I’m one of them) and webinars to take us away from our friends and families.
OK – I’m being a bit cranky. These efforts are well intentioned, but they feel hypocritical because the system is offering low dose antidotes while distributing the heavy poisons of stealing autonomy, diminishing purpose, and robbing joy of practice.
Let’s consider three roles in the system that can serve as real stewards of surgeon wellness – Administrators, Colleagues, and Ourselves.
How can administrators be stewards of surgeon wellness?
Instead of offering another forced-upon activity that doesn’t address our individual needs, what if administrators started by asking questions? Specific pain points are all unique to individual situations and compound over time.
Administrators can be stewards by understanding the systematic issues that pain their surgeons, and by putting money and effort into addressing those issues.
How can we be stewards of our colleagues’ wellness?
Advocacy and allyship are critical to progress. When we sit by and allow our colleagues to be bullied, harassed, and coerced into things, moral injury occurs.
Colleagues can be stewards by listening to others for understanding more than advising. Help support progress within the system to address each other’s pain points collectively rather than just our own.
How can we be stewards of our own wellness?
Self-compassion is a critical component of our well-being. While thoughts and feelings may need some work, actions speak louder than words. What do you need? How often are you taking stock of 1. What you need less of? 2. What you need more of?
We can be stewards of our own wellness by engaging proactively in self-compassion and having honest self-reflection to guide actions that create more boundaries. We need to learn to say no to things we don’t want and strongly affirm the things we want.
Do you have something to share? Contribute! Email Team@SurgeonMasters.com