A survey among physicians in surgery and anesthesiology departments after the first surge of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Germany : Preparing for further challenges ahead
Löffler, M. W.
JournalWiener klinische Wochenschrift
Rights© 2022. The Author(s).
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BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV‑2 pandemic has extensively challenged healthcare systems all over the world. Many elective operations were postponed or cancelled, changing priorities and workflows in surgery departments. AIMS: The primary aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the workload and psychosocial burden of surgeons and anesthesiologists, working in German hospitals during the first wave of SARS-CoV‑2 infections in 2020. METHODS: Quantitative online survey on the workplace situation including psychosocial and work-related stress factors among resident and board-certified surgeons and anesthesiologists. Physicians in German hospitals across all levels of healthcare were contacted via departments, professional associations and social media posts. RESULTS: Among 154 total study participants, 54% of respondents stated a lack of personal protective equipment in their own wards and 56% reported increased staff shortages since the onset of the pandemic. While routine practice was reported as fully resumed in 71% of surgery departments at the time of the survey, work-related dissatisfaction among responding surgeons and anesthesiologists increased from 24% before the pandemic to 36% after the first wave of infections. As a countermeasure, 94% of participants deemed the establishment of action plans to increase pandemic preparedness and strengthening German public health systems a useful measure to respond to current challenges. CONCLUSION: The aftermath of the first wave of SARS-CoV‑2 infections in Germany has left the surgical staff strained, despite temporarily decreased workloads. Overall, a critical review of the altered conditions is indispensable to identify and promote effective solutions and prudent action plans required to address imminent challenges.