Wonder Woman offers radiology practice tips

2021 12 06 21 59 1830 Wonder Woman 400

Radiologists can take two key tips away from the 1970s show Wonder Woman to improve their practice, according to an opinion published December 3 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The opinion was written by a team led by Lynda Carter, the actor who played the superheroine from 1975 to 1979. The character became "a symbol of women's empowerment," wrote Carter and co-authors Dr. Elliot Fishman; Dr. Steven Rowe, PhD; and Dr. Linda Chu (all from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore). Wonder Woman embodied "empathy, intellect, peace, justice, and equality."

Carter's group described two important lessons radiology can take from Wonder Woman:

Women are effective role models. "Women can be strong leaders," the team noted. "However, the paucity of role models who are women remains a problem in medical fields that are traditionally dominated by men, such as radiology. Despite our progress in promoting gender equity in radiology, there remains a substantial gender gap in the radiology physician workforce, especially at leadership levels." It's important for women leaders to support the next generation, the group wrote.

Empathy is an antidote to burnout. At least a third of radiologists report burnout symptoms, caused by increased clinical demand -- which the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified, according to Carter and co-authors. "We need to use our empathy superpowers to listen more and understand one another's challenges," they wrote. "We need to ... strive toward systemic and organizational changes with open dialogue among radiologists and practice leaders, to foster an environment of mutual trust, respect, and support."

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