Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

6 Ways Radiologists Can Beat Burnout

Published on the Sept. 12, 2012, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Feeling stressed out or lacking motivation when you read studies? If so, you have lots of company.

Radiologists rank among the top five specialties that experience the greatest frequency of burnout, according to a recent Archives of Internal Medicine study. Nearly half of radiologists reported at least one symptom of burnout. Only providers in emergency medicine, general internal medicine, family medicine, and neurology are at equal or greater risk for this problem.

An informal poll of Diagnostic Imaging readers found that a full 93 percent experience burnout to some degree, with 19 percent reporting they are burned out every day.

Having a general lack of enthusiasm for your work can feel overwhelming, and it can ultimately impact patient care. But there are ways for you to stave off or reverse the effects of burnout.

1. Resist the desire to focus on equipment. Radiology is well known for its constant flow of new and improved equipment, and radiologists tend to be enamored with each piece of updated technology, said Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of radiology and pediatrics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. This focus helps reduce errors rates and increases safety, but it can also create problems.

“Sometimes we end up neglecting the human side of our work – the psychology, the interpersonal relationships, the professional fulfillment from the people we work with,” said Gunderman, who recently published an article in The Atlantic about physician burnout. “We want strong departments with happy people doing high quality work, and to get that, we must devote serious attention to the human side of the radiology equation.”

2. Engage your leadership in combating workplace stress. Finding the work/life balance that is appropriate for you is a personal responsibility, but that doesn’t mean your hospital or practice management can’t take steps to help you figure it out. Department chairs and practice leaders must make addressing stress levels and creating a health workplace a priority, said Peter Moskowitz, MD, pediatric radiology clinical professor at Stanford University.

“Emphasis on this issue must come from the higher levels,” said Moskowitz, who is also the executive director for the Center for Professional and Personal Renewal. “It’s really key for leadership to take ownership over establishing a healthy work environment. If the workplace concentrates only on generating the maximum amount of money and not on physician happiness, then all the individual efforts to find a good work/life balance won’t be enough.”

3. Identify radiologists to mirror. Much like when you sought out mentors during your radiology training, find a colleague who has found a way to work enjoyable, outside-of-work activities into his or her life.

“Try to identify radiologists who you think have done a good job of getting their priorities straight — those who can balance different commitments — and spend time with them,” Gunderman said. “Figure out what makes them tick. How have they decided where to focus their attention? Get their advice.”

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/content/article/113619/2102238

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September 13, 2012 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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