Auld Lang Syne, My Friend : Rehabilitation Oncology

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Auld Lang Syne, My Friend

Fisher, Mary I. PT, PhD

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Rehabilitation Oncology 41(1):p 2, January 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/01.REO.0000000000000329
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It's an American annual past-time look back in order to start anew each January 1. To harken to the Scots, we ought to use this New Year opportunity to think about Auld Lang Syne—old long since, or times gone by, to learn and grow and start anew. What have we learned in the last year (or 2 or 3) that we can use to move forward to start anew?

First, and perhaps most obvious, is that we know far more about the virus that results in COVID-19. The medical community—researchers and health care providers—know better ways to contain the spread of the virus through ever-improving vaccinations, better ways to manage the disease process with new medications to combat the virus, minimizing its effects on the body, and better ways to treat the after effects of COVID-19. We learned new and different ways to provide care; it is likely that eHealth practices are here to stay, and it is our challenge as rehabilitation providers to find the best way to leverage these technologies to help our patients. We also learned about our own strengths and our own limitations.

Our limitations often manifest in burnout. Indeed, it was not news to anyone working in health care that burnout levels are high, when the Surgeon General sent an urgent advisory out in May 2022, sounding the alarm to address the needs of health care workers.1 The advisory outlines the negative consequences of health care worker burnout: physical and emotional distress and disease among the providers, lower quality of care for the patients, limitations in available health services, and an ongoing erosion of trust in health care by the public, damaging and worsening population health outcomes and increasing disparities. While the causes of burnout are multifactorial and it impacts different providers at different levels, we can all learn from the recommendations provided. These include the following: committing to organizational values at all levels of leadership; reducing administrative burdens; creating a diverse and empowered workforce; providing accessible mental health and substance use care; ensuring safe and inclusive environments; using human-centered technology; fashioning community partnerships; and forming a culture of healing, community, and connection. As we enter 2023, we all have a role to play in starting anew. We can be a part of the solution by acting on opportunities to empower and support one another to create a culture of healing, community, and connection. I encourage everyone to read this advisory and arm themselves with knowledge to take action.

Rehabilitation Oncology, too, is starting anew. Last year we celebrated our 40th year of publication. This year we are now an entirely online-only journal. We are able to offer more content to our readers and those caring for individuals with cancer. This inaugural online issue is packed with 2 systematic reviews, 3 research reports, and an important commentary about providing care to those with stage IV cancer. We include our usual columns, helping the reader connect evidence to practice. In addition, we offer podcasts—this issue's offering on how lymphography can be used in the management of lymphedema, and our OncoReads(sm) to augment learning opportunities, and CEUs—with this issue's offering focusing on cognitive function among older individuals with cancer.

The Editorial Board is excited to continue to move forward in increasing our offerings to our readers, providing access to important evidence to support and improve oncology rehabilitative practice. We are always open to feedback—come visit us at the Academy booth during CSM in San Diego, or simply contact the journal with your thoughts.


1. Murthy VH. Addressing health worker burnout: the US Surgeon General's advisory on building a thriving health workforce. Published 2022. Accessed November 17, 2022.
© 2023 Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy, APTA.