6 Key Practices for Positive Radiologists Wellbeing Craig Quilter January 20, 2022

6 Key Practices for Positive
Radiologists Wellbeing

Learn to say no
Radiologist Wellbeing = Patient Safety
Positive Feedback
Practice self-care
Minimise interruptions
Look at how technology can support you

1. Learn to say no

Discovering when to say no to increasing workloads is a difficult but invaluable skill for maintaining your wellbeing whilst at work. This can be challenging when you may feel obliged to complete scans, knowing a patient is waiting for results on the other side of it. However, as Dr David Grant affirmed during the session:

“Prioritising yourself is the same as prioritising patient care.”

When you are feeling your best, you can give your best back to others. A practical way to ensure you manage your time and do not burnout is to implement boundary setting. During the session, a few effective ways were outlined, such as:

  • Stick to your allotted hours – being strict with yourself that you will not continue to work once your reporting session is over.
  • Set your Out Of Office on – when you are away from your desk, make sure to set your Out of Office on to ensure you are not tempted to check your emails to really switch off from work.
  • Know your limits – recognise what a realistic amount of work you can commit to and say no to the extra when you feel overwhelmed.

By clarifying what your boundaries are, you will be able to make the most of your time when working and when you are not.  

2. Radiologist Wellbeing = Patient Safety

Remember, by reporting when you feel at your best, you are ensuring that you are giving the best possible outcomes for your patient. Do not be afraid to raise the safety card if workloads are unsafe or you are feeling under pressure. By making it visible that you have an overwhelming workload, you will help others to recognise what is manageable. It is not sustainable to continue under extreme workloads, so take time out when you need it. 

3. Positive Feedback

Often, when we receive feedback, it is focused on what can be improved, whilst reviewing what is going well can be neglected. Having positive feedback is a useful reminder of what a good job you are doing.

A great way to seek out positive feedback is from your team or colleagues. Being part of a team brings a sense of connection and a support network around you. Consider how often you provide positive comments for others or show gratitude for the work they do. By creating a culture of recognising others’ achievements, you will be able to learn from both positive and negative feedback. This could also be extended outside of your team to how you interact with other departments across the hospital.

4. Practice Self-care

Self-care has long been considered a key element in maintaining your wellbeing. During the RCR session Dr Warren Larkin, detailed some techniques to practice self-care.

    • Diarise me time – set aside time when you will take time for yourself and not for work.
    • Supportive relationships – having positive interactions with others on a regular basis is crucial for combatting stress and switching off from the workday.
    • Sleep – ensure you are getting enough sleep to effectively rest after your day.
    • Access to nature – nature has fantastic benefits for our wellbeing
    • Exercise – doing something physical releases cortisol, which aids in managing stress, can improve the quality of your sleep and improve your mood.
    • Diet – what you eat can have a big impact on your mood. Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet has proven benefits on reducing depression rates.
    • Mindfulness – there are many ways to implement mindfulness into your routine. This could be as simple as meditating during the day for a few minutes or taking up an art or craft activity. Mindfulness is about concentrating on one thing, in order to take your mind off of anything that you may be finding stressful.

5. Minimise interruptions

It can be really distracting to have your flow interrupted when in the middle of a piece of work. This may be from colleagues or from others if you are working from home. To combat this, treat the time you spend on reporting as sacred and not to be interrupted. Set aside time to deal with interruptions before they arise and so your reporting time is kept separate. This could be setting up a place for colleagues to go when they have a question or allotting a time in your day to deal with queries.

6. Look at how technology can support you.

Consider how can developing technologies such as AI could reduce unnecessary workloads and improve clinical safety netting. Decision support systems are designed to give you confidence and work like another colleague giving a second pair of eyes to a scan. There are some AI systems that will be able to auto triage, in order for you to prioritise your work more quickly and therefore progress through your workload in a more manageable way.