The events of 2020 have changed our nation forever. The struggles and stresses of the past year will also fuel change within surgery, which is poised to become safer, proactive and more inclusive.
Outpatient facilities demonstrated their trademark nimbleness when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down elective surgeries, forcing staff to implement new patient care and infection prevention protocols in a matter of weeks before ORs could reopen. Decisions that would have taken months to sort out were made in days.
During the shutdown, scores of surgical professionals cared for COVID-19 patients in ICUs. They were out of their element, but right where they belonged, answering the call alongside other dedicated healthcare professionals.
Surgeons have been forced to communicate virtually with patients, and both groups learned to love online appointments.
Calls for social justice from Black Lives Matter protesters were heard in ORs, where advocates continue to strive for a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Surgical professionals, who are already pushed to their mental and physical limits, persevere as the pandemic rages on. They're moving forward into an uncertain future with the experiences of the past year preparing them for whatever comes next.