Exploring the Experience of the Surgical Workforce During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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To explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the stress levels and experience of academic surgeons by training status (eg, housestaff or faculty).Covid-19 has uniquely challenged and changed the United States healthcare system. A better understanding of the surgeon experience is necessary to inform proactive workforce management and support.A multi-institutional, cross-sectional telephone survey of surgeons was conducted across 5 academic medical centers from May 15 to June 5, 2020. The exposure of interest was training status. The primary outcome was maximum stress level, measured using the validated Stress Numerical Rating Scale-11 (range 0-10).A total of 335 surveys were completed (49.3% housestaff, 50.7% faculty; response rate 63.7%). The mean maximum stress level of faculty was 7.21 (SD 1.81) and of housestaff was 6.86 (SD 2.06) (P = 0.102). Mean stress levels at the time of the survey trended lower amongst housestaff (4.17, SD 1.89) than faculty (4.56, SD 2.15) (P = 0.076). More housestaff (63.6%) than faculty (40.0%) reported exposure to individuals with Covid-19 (P < 0.001). Subjects reported inadequate personal protective equipment in approximately a third of professional exposures, with no difference by training status (P = 0.557).During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the personal and professional experiences of housestaff and faculty differed, in part due to a difference in exposure as well as non-work-related stressors. Workforce safety, including adequate personal protective equipment, expanded benefits (eg, emergency childcare), and deliberate staffing models may help to alleviate the stress associated with disease resurgence or future disasters.

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