It’s a 7-minute sprint to the patient’s bedside, followed by 30 to 45 minutes of work, while still managing nursing staff and doctors. The rad tech then has to perform the same sprint and work routine, over and over again, for eight to 10 hours. How do rad techs keep it up for so long? It’s a job that requires focus, speed, and endurance.
Rad techs are expected to be some of the most reliable, steadfast workers in the medical field. They need to be able to work long shifts that require high levels of concentration and focus without showing signs of fatigue. However, that’s easier said than done. The fast-paced environment and multiple interruptions, not to mention the physical toll that the job takes on your body, often leads to workplace fatigue.
Fatigue, or a sensation of excessive tiredness that comes with poor energy and affects daily activities, is common in radiology and can affect diagnostic testing accuracy, according to the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).
According to the National Physician Burnout Report published by Medscape in 2020, 46% of radiologists felt burnout, putting radiology in sixth place among specialties with the most special burnout rates.
Here are some ways to avoid burnout in the rad tech workplace.
Practices should allow radiologists to define daily goals and stick to them, whether it’s finding time to evaluate the most complex cases, fostering greater peer-to-peer engagement, or taking essential breaks.
Some radiologists, for example, may feel so overwhelmed by the number of cases and pictures towering over them that they are unable to take a brief break or go out for lunch.
Simply encouraging radiologists to schedule a half-hour break from their monitors each day to have lunch or coffee with coworkers might help them obtain a new perspective and get away from the grind.
Several stressors for technicians have been discovered via research and surveys throughout the years. Inconsistent management, ineffective communication, competing priorities, overwork, work overload, a lack of work break times, time pressures, and facilities or technology are just a few examples.
Organizations must take various steps to alleviate stress, including improved communication, a focus on adequate staffing and patient scheduling, and even personal health education (i.e., sleep habits, diet, etc.).
Increasing the usage of staff huddles, electronic communications, and even organizing brief self-care webinars, for example, can help to give clarity and raise morale.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning might increase the number of photos read and give you more confidence in your analysis.
Additional workflow-improving technologies, such as collaboration portals, will go a long way toward reducing your risk of burnout and assisting you in staying organized throughout the workday.
Patient satisfaction and good results have increased in organizations that have integrated AI-guided systems and enhanced workstation technologies.
Your staff is supportive of your work, and you must reciprocate. Rather than providing simple feedback, all improvement feedback should be based on cold, hard facts.
Use data as a crucial measure of workplace success, such as the number of readings, the percentage of billing accuracies, and timeliness.
Allow the evidence to speak for itself when a problem occurs. Establish good key performance indicators for measuring your success and realistic administrative routines in your practice if you work with other health institutions.
Determine what should be assessed in the health system other than turnaround time and agree on target metrics. Clear expectations also lower the chance of becoming overburdened.
After a long day at the workplace, radiologists must take personal chances to relax and de-stress.
Radiologists should avoid excessive alcohol and other harmful drugs; however, a glass of wine once in a while may be appropriate.
Everything hinges on your capacity to develop healthy coping skills and prevent mental tiredness, which is a forerunner to burnout. Also, set aside one day every week to avoid going to the health center at all costs.
It may not appear to be a significant difficulty, but everyone needs at least one day away from work each week.
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“The Radiology Department has grown so much, but I’m consistently on call and feel like the department is understaffed”, said no rad tech ever.
Radiology has a way of pulling the best out of people because it’s one of the busiest departments in the hospital. However, it does come with its own set of difficulties. It’s that constant pressure that can wear you down and make you wonder where you see yourself in the radiology department.
There are many things that are different from a normal workplace that put a rad tech at risk for workplace fatigue. With the technology and tools we have today, there are some things that are changing. It is important that we make sure we have the resources to help us cope with our work environment.