Want to blunt rad burnout? Search for a Holy Grail

Burnout is real—and its affects can dampen personal fulfillment and lead to feelings of exhaustion.

Radiology departments can act to combat the effects of burnout, but, with a multipronged problem deeply entangled in radiologists’ day-to-day work, a cure-all isn’t going to present itself.

In an opinion piece from the Journal of the American College of Radiology, Nicole Restauri, MD, with the department of radiology at the University of Colorado, frames the search for cures for burnout’s ails.

“Striking a balance between economic and organizational demands and individual radiologists’ needs may represent one aspect of the Holy Grail—or life-restoring force—in the burnout epidemic,” Restauri wrote. “It is from this place of compromise that economic productivity and physician engagement maximally intersect to serve public interest by supporting a safe and viable health care system.”

Drawing parallels between burnout and those in T.S. Elliot’s “The Waste Land,” Restauri calls for a two-tiered solution, directed toward both the individual and the organization.

“The Grail myth illustrates how interventions, such as mindfulness training, that support physicians’ self-awareness and self-compassion, increasing their ability to ask the critical question of ‘What ails me?’ may be most effective when implemented simultaneously with organizational interventions aimed at creating a culture that recognizes physician autonomy and values authenticity,” she wrote.