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

Message from the Editor

Amalia Stefanou“If you are too busy to think about your life, you are too busy.”

This idea comes from the book Essentialism by Gregory McKeown, which I just read for the second time. It’s a quick, easy read that focuses on the idea that we need to make time to think and consider options and, most of all, to make sure we are moving on our chosen path. McKeown writes about how the main idea needs to stay the main idea. Most of us get distracted by work that is time consuming but not meaningful to or supportive of our overall goals. This makes us lose sight of our main plans.

I think a lot of us are so busy that we don’t actually think about our lives. We rush to work, to clinic, to the operating room, to our homes, to family commitments, to the gym. I’d like to remind you to schedule time for thinking into your day or week. Be clear about your goals for your career and life. Many pretty good opportunities will come up, and many of us are eager to say yes to them in order to please someone. Instead, take the time to remain focused on your goal so you are ready to pick up the *best* opportunity when it comes along.

Amalia Stefanou, MD, FACS
YFA E-News Editor

2020 Quality and Safety Conference Goes Virtual

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Quality and Safety Conference will be held virtually this year. The content will be available for free online three hours per day on July 24, 25, and 26. This meeting will offer great ideas and innovations from other hospitals excited to share their successes. The online platform is an innovative way to engage your hospital leadership in surgical quality and safety. Be sure to visit the conference website for more details as the time gets closer.

Working from the COVID Front Lines

Shubhada DhageShubhada Dhage, MD, FACS

After an almost three-month “PAUSE” due to COVID-19, New York City and the metropolitan region are entering Phase 1 of a four-part reopening plan. As I reflect on the last three months, a few terms that come to mind are united, innovation, and expansion. “United” because the number of people who came together, regardless of their background in medicine, to care for patients was inspiring. “Innovation” because from dealing with unimaginable shortages to better understanding the disease process and how best to treat infected patients, every single individual in the hospital used his or her expertise to develop creative solutions. “Expansion” because I was forced to explore my view on how to doctor and what it means to be a doctor.

Advocacy for my patients took on a new meaning. I never imagined that I would have to triage and use the best medical evidence to treat patients creatively without compromising care, including how to display compassion through computer screens or in person through a full suiting of PPE. Since I could not hug or comfort my patients, making eye contact became equally as important to displaying compassion as my words. Shared decision-making protocols had to change, and risk variables I never considered became part of the conversation. And of course there was courage and connection as everyone grew together and provided support for one another. The fraternity of surgery expanded, and I have never been prouder to be part of this amazing group of doctors. And it wasn’t just in the hospitals. There were a multitude of grassroots efforts, including the efforts of the ACS NY Chapter led by Dr. Kurian, who advocated at the government level for all surgeons. Things have not returned to “normal,” and no one remains unchanged. We will most likely continue to carry these new and old but reimagined lessons as we care for our patients.

Shubhada Dhage, MD, FACS, is assistant professor at New York University and director of the Breast Surgery Service at NYU Langone. She lives in New York City with her family.