Ian A. Weissman, DO, FACR, Chair, American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Patient- and Family- Centered Care Outreach Committee, Well-Being Committee member and Council Steering Committee member, contributed this piece.
Our radiology practice, as well as the larger radiology community, continues to suffer from increasing rates of radiologist burnout, which is increasingly impacting care as radiologists resign or cutback their hours, resulting in less radiologists available to provide timely, patient- and family-centered care.
In 2022, I felt it was critical to develop initiatives to help our radiology colleagues as I noted that we were losing more colleagues to the Great Resignation. As President of the Wisconsin Radiological Society, I used the strategies taught to me by my mentors and colleagues at the ACR Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI®), to create a national well-being project which presents impactful solutions to mitigate burnout.
The inspiration for this project occurred six years ago as discussions on the increasing rate of burnout in our field began to grow. The critical importance of mitigating burnout in radiologists necessitated expanding the message to a national audience, so I reached out to the ACR Well-Being Committee and RLI to ask if they would be interested in collaborating on this project, and we formed a partnership.
Our collaboration led to the creation of a two-part national webinar, Leadership Strategies to Achieve and Support Well-Being. The first session addresses the concerns of residents and fellows, and the second session is geared toward all practicing radiologists. Both sessions are interactive — the second session with a 45-minute question and answer session to encourage an exchange of ideas among the participants which facilitated engagement and buy-in, strategies learned from my training within the Radiology Leadership Institute.
With the recent release of new seminal reports from the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S Surgeon General, we know that we can improve well-being by adopting several strategies in our practice. Two that are important that you can take back to your practice are:
1) Develop a culture of community, connection, and support.
a. Find out what works best for your practice. Some radiology colleagues have transitioned to peer learning over peer review, which is supported by ACR, and is one way to build a positive culture.
2) Seek out the servant leaders.
a. If you work for a servant leader, who will work to professionally support you, you are much less likely to burnout in your career.
b. It falls upon us to select servant leaders to lead us, and to train new servant leaders to support their colleagues.
In addition to the two-part national webinar series, I recently had a wonderful discussion with Chris Hobson at the ACR Bulletin where we talk about a concept I term, the The Joyful Triad of Healthcare Success, which explores the intersection of well-being, health equity and patient- and family-centered care — all of which are interconnected and critical to ensuring excellent patient care and clinician well-being. Learn more about this approach to care delivery in my recent discussion with Chris in this recent ACR Bulletin Podcast.
As we step back into our normal day-to-day workflow following the busy holiday season, I encourage all in the radiology field — whether medical students, early-career radiologists, or seasoned leaders, to prioritize wellness in your practice. Improving radiologist wellness is critical, as we lose more colleagues to the Great Resignation, and one that we must solve collaboratively with thoughtful leaders to guide our way.
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