What’s Important? Togetherness

At a time when the general public is being encouraged to isolate and maintain physical distance, healthcare professionals are coming together as never before. This unprecedented level and type of collaboration and teamwork is the theme of 2 JBJS fast-track “What’s Important” articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first, Mohamad Halawi, MD and colleagues from Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston say that this extraordinary event calls for physician leadership and unity. The authors encourage the orthopaedic community to “focus on supporting our medical colleagues” and for all healthcare professionals to demonstrate “resilience, vigilance, and common resolve.”

For Boston orthopaedists George S.M. Dyer, MD and Mitchel B Harris, MD “things are changing so quickly around us that every day feels like a week,” and “fear appears to be the new ingredient.” Faced with feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, these authors sought advice from three quarters: a group of military veterans affiliated with their medical school, several orthopaedic surgeons who currently serve in the military, and patients who are police officers and firefighters.

The collective wisdom in their advice boils down to this:

  • Remind yourself why you became a doctor; it’s a privilege to be able to help.
  • Take care of yourselves and of each other.
  • Buddy up and stay close to your teammates.
  • Keep lines of communication open; in times of stress, unfettered communication is essential.
  • Remember that you are capable and resilient.
  • Don’t force yourself into “heroism”; volunteer to support and assist in any way you feel comfortable.

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