The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the healthcare workforce with unprecedented challenges, the like of which has not been experienced in a century. In response, the vascular surgeon community has rallied together in a similarly extraordinary way—with real-time, peer-to-peer support and discussions on SVSConnect, and on social platforms such as the new COVID-19 WhatsApp group, created specifically to connect members of the specialty.
What resonated personally was hearing of the shared experiences, and the different ways of coping and adjusting to the changes that are coming daily. Of course, we realize that these adjustments will be ongoing, especially with the latest projections suggesting social distancing may need to continue into 2022.
In another response to these rapid changes to our reality, a group of us worked with the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Wellness Task Force to develop a needs assessment survey in order to better understand COVID-19-related stressors, changes in practice, and coping strategies among surgeons and trainees.
The survey is open to vascular surgeons and trainees at all levels from around the world. We also want to hear from those who are board certified in another specialty and perform vascular surgery operations or interventions.
In addition to capturing baseline information such as years in practice, location and current vascular surgery practice type, we included validated survey tools to evaluate anxiety and coping mechanisms. Our goal is to understand the personal impact, concerns and needs so as to better support our peers during these challenging times and into the future.
We understand that people are busy but would greatly appreciate hearing from as many people as possible. The survey should take no more than about 10 minutes to complete. Furthermore, survey respondents have the option of viewing the aggregate responses to date once the survey has been submitted.
At the time of writing, we have received responses from more than 800 individuals from around the world. We invite you to add your voice to this collective group of surgeons. Share your experiences with us today and help the SVS support you. The survey can be completed here.
Sherene Shalhub, MD, is associate professor of surgery in the division of vascular surgery, the department of surgery, at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.