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A Prospective Intervention to Reduce Burnout Among Academic Radiologists

Published:August 05, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.06.009

      Highlights

      • Key Finding: Despite numerous departmental initiatives intended to improve culture, workplace efficiency, work-life balance, and personal wellness, self-reported burnout among academic medical center radiologists showed no measurable improvement over time.
      • Importance: Physician and employee wellness embedded into institutional culture may be more effective than local departmental improvement initiatives.

      Rationale and Objectives

      Few studies have examined what constitutes effective interventions to reduce burnout among radiologists. We compared self-reported burnout among academic medical center radiologists before and after a series of departmental initiatives intended to increase wellbeing and professional satisfaction.

      Materials and Methods

      This Institutional Review Board-approved, prospective study took place 2017-2019 in a tertiary academic medical center. In pre- (2017) and post-intervention (2019) periods, we administered the previously-validated Stanford Physician Wellness Survey to faculty in our 11-division radiology department. Faculty rated their burnout level across 8 domains (professional fulfillment, emotional exhaustion, interpersonal disengagement, sleep difficulties, self-compassion, negative work impact on personal relations, organizational/personal values alignment, perceived quality of supervisory leadership). Between the two surveys, departmental initiatives focusing on culture, team building, work-life balance, and personal well-being were implemented (e.g., electronic medical record training, shorter work hours). Pre- and post-survey results were compared, using Whitney-Mann U test to calculate Z scores.

      Results

      Faculty members rated lower professional fulfillment (Z-3.04, p=0.002), higher emotional exhaustion (Z=2.52, p=0.012), increased sleep-related impairment (Z=2.38, p=0.012), and reduced organizational/personal values alignment (Z=-4.10, p<0.0001) between the two surveys. No significant differences were identified associated with interpersonal disengagement (Z=1.82, p=0.069), self-compassion (Z=1.39, p=0.164), negative impact of work on personal relationship (Z=0.89, p=0.372) and perceived supervisory leadership quality (Z=0.07, p=0.942).

      Conclusion

      Despite numerous departmental initiatives intended to improve culture, workplace efficiency, work-life balance, and personal wellness, self-reported burnout was unchanged or worsened over time.Physician and employee wellness embedded into institutional culture maybe more effective than departmental improvement initiatives.

      Key Words

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