Burnout is not rare in high-pressure occupations throughout the healthcare field, including imaging departments. The need to hustle may be an accepted part of an organization’s culture or the increase in workloads that cause CT technologists to experience work-related fatigue.
Whatever the reason, the constant rush may have a negative impact on the CT technologist, colleagues, and the entire organization. This bulldozer approach to work results in poor morale, mistakes, and negative impacts on patient care.
Instead, radiology practices and departments must take steps to improve morale, optimize workflow, and enhance patient care by trying the following:
1. Embracing IT innovations can reduce burnout
The study identified workflow problems as one of the main reasons CT technologists burnout. As a result, the study recommended that radiology software systems must become integrated and leveraged to their full potential to help radiologists better deal with the growing complexity and volumes of cases. The software should also assist with the ever-growing number of non-interpretive tasks1.
Many organizations require members of an imaging department to spend their days wading through multiple software programs, including:
- Picture archives
- Electronic health records
- Dictation software
- Communication systems
Jumping from program to program takes attention away from reading images, creates frustration, and can lead to holes in patient care, according to the study1.
By developing a collaborative team of radiologists, IT professionals, and software programmers that can create personalized solutions, organizations can implement successful IT innovations that:
- Optimize workflow
- Enhance patient care
- Raise radiologist engagement and job satisfaction
The right IT tools can address:
- Examination protocols
- Image Interpretation
2. Limiting bureaucracy offers relief to all radiology personnel
Beurocratic organizations can separate the decision makers from the people and issues their decisions impact.
A 2018 article in the Journal of American College of Radiology2 recognizes that bureaucracy enhances impartiality at organizations, but can also stymie creativity and distinctive personalities of CT technologists, radiologists, and other personnel.
Increased bureaucratization in health care has created a standardization first culture, depersonalization, and policies that deviate from the way those in radiology work. This type of system fosters burnout among health care professionals according to the article2.
Organization stakeholders should get employee feedback and suggestions when making decisions that directly impact them and the facility. Though compliance and adherence to standards and best practices are important, the article recommends they should not promote “irrational inconsistency.”2
3. Encouraging creativity boosts job satisfaction
Organizations must include more creative aspects, like teaching and research, of the radiology profession to improve job satisfaction among radiology trainees, according to a survey conducted by the Radiology Trainees Forum (RTF) of the European Society of Radiology (ESR)3.
The survey3, which evaluated data on workplace satisfaction, mobility of professionals, and stress levels, showed that 52.3% of the 1,045 radiology trainees were moderately satisfied with their jobs. This level of job satisfaction was considered adequate but not sufficient.
The survey3 revealed that balancing routine radiology tasks with more creative aspects will increase satisfaction levels.
4. Recognizing work stressors and taking action to prevent them improves morale
A pilot study4 of Italian radiologists and radiotherapists showed that 38.5% of them complained of severe organizational discomfort, 24% reported job strain, and 28% reported effort/reward imbalance. The study further showed that 25% were dissatisfied with their jobs.
Women felt higher levels of organizational discomfort than men, and younger, less experienced workers felt more significant job strain than their older, more experienced colleagues.
Researchers4 found a significant association between stress predictors and the effects of stress on health, including anxiety and unhealthy lifestyles.
Also, researchers4 concluded that organizations and leaders must make special efforts to prevent workplace stress.
The stress radiologists experience can impact CT technologists and others in imaging departments.
To alleviate stress, the American Psychological Association5 recommends that organizations create environments that foster open conversations. All employees should feel they can go to the decision-makers at their organizations and talk about ways to come up with effective plans for managing the stressors they have identified.
Elements of the plan should include information about employer-sponsored wellness resources and enriching jobs, so they add more challenging or meaningful duties and reducing strain, according to the association5.
Improving CT technologists’ morale is vital
CT technologists experience stress and frustration daily, which can create low morale.
Identifying the issues and making moves to address them will help build stronger, more efficient imaging teams that can provide the best possible patient care.
- Doshi, AM, et. al. Informatics Solutions for Driving an Effective and Efficient Radiology Practice. Radiographics. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30303784 Web. April 16, 2018.
- Gunderman, Richard B., et al. How Bureaucracy Can Foster Burnout. Journal of the American College of Radiology. 2018.https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(18)30753-1/fulltext Web. April 16, 2018.
- European Society of Radiology. Radiology trainees forum survey report on workplace satisfaction, ESR education, mobility and stress level. Insights Imaging. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30187269 Web. April 16, 2018.
- Magnavita, N, et al. Work stress in radiologists. A pilot study. Radiologic Medicine. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18493771 Web. April 16, 2018.
- American Psychological Association. Coping with Stress at Work. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress Web. April 17, 2018.