When was the last time you stopped and spent a few minutes answering this question or listening to the answer from a colleague? Although using a fly-by “Hi, how are you?” as a simple greeting is an ingrained part of U.S. culture, it rarely starts a substantive conversation.

Is it important to converse and connect with colleagues? Aren’t there higher priorities, such as patient care, charting, rapid O.R. turnover, administrative tasks and battling our EHRs? If those are finished, don’t we need to rush home to other responsibilities? The conflicts among these different priorities are real, and our time is finite. However, we advocate here for placing social connectedness, particularly with colleagues, near the top of your priority list.

Social isolation, or lack of social connectedness, is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for morbidity and mortality. A recent...

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