Statement on Surgeon Well-Being

The following American College of Surgeons (ACS) Statement on Surgeon Well-Being was developed by the ACS Surgeon Well-Being Workgroup. The ACS Board of Regents approved the statement at its October 2021 meeting.

The ACS recognizes the need to foster well-being, resilience, and work-life integration for all surgeons, regardless of their career stage. Fostering the growth of both the surgical expertise and the person as a whole is paramount. We recognize that many components affect an individual’s emotional, occupational, physical, intellectual, financial, social, spiritual, and environmental well-being, both as a surgeon and as a human being. The College recognizes that surgeon well-being directly and indirectly affects patient care and that to ensure optimal patient care, surgeons need to understand and adapt to their environments to thrive.

Through education, resources, tools, and advocacy, the ACS fosters and encourages surgeons’ health and well-being to ensure the physical and mental strength necessary to support their personal and professional pursuits and to provide optimal patient care. We strive and commit ourselves to helping surgeons find balance in their lives. The ACS advocates for a worksite culture that supports optimal work-life integration for surgeons, creates and nourishes opportunities for surgeons to flourish and thrive, and provides support leading to job enjoyment. The ACS commits to the following goals:

  • Decrease the stigma around surgeon distress by providing education, resources, and tools for surgeons, program directors, and administrators
  • Address adverse effects of decreased surgeon well-being, including signs and symptoms associated with distress and environment culture
  • Promote resilience inherent in everyone, especially surgeons, through education, resources, and tools
  • Increase work-life integration by supporting resources that aid the individual surgeon and their family and friends
  • Advocate for systems-level change at the local, regional, national, and international levels within programs, organizations, hospitals, institutions, and government agencies on practices and policies that affect well-being and incorporate environmental changes that enable surgeons to thrive and flourish—both personally and professionally

The College’s commitment to surgeon well-being is twofold. The ACS commits to building and upskilling individual coping skills for surgeons alongside developing a long-term strategy to support systems-level changes in collaboration with systems stakeholders. The ACS commits to engaging surgeon well-being across all of its activities, expanding the availability of resources through internal and external collaborations and partnerships, and promoting research and education that enhances programs, interventions, and strategies that integrate well-being into all facets of a surgeon’s career and home environment.

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