In the wake of the death toll resulting from coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), in addition to the economic turmoil and strain on our health care systems, plastic surgeons are taking a hard look at their role in crisis preparedness and how they can contribute to crisis response policies in their own health care teams. Leaders in the specialty are charged with developing new clinical policies, identifying weaknesses in crisis preparation, and ensuring survival of private practices that face untenable financial challenges. Although it is unclear whether or when a second wave of COVID-19 will occur, it is critical that plastic surgery builds on the lessons learned over the past few tumultuous months to emerge stronger and more prepared to weather the coming storm. In addition, this global health crisis presents a timely opportunity to reexamine how plastic surgeons can display effective leadership during times of uncertainty and stress. Some may choose to emulate the traits and policies of leaders who are navigating the COVID-19 crisis effectively. Specifically, the national leaders who offer empathy, transparent communication, and decisive action have maintained high public approval throughout the COVID-19 crisis, while aggressively controlling viral spread. Crises are an inevitable aspect of modern society and medicine. Plastic surgeons can learn from this pandemic to better prepare for future turmoil.
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