Nearly half of radiologists in private practices experience burnout, with just one in four reporting professional fulfillment, according to findings published March 9 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
A team led by Dr. Jay Parikh from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston also found that taking call and practicing self-care affected whether radiologists experienced burnout or professional fulfillment. The research follows an earlier study Parikh and colleagues conducted last year.
"This is a follow-up study to evaluate specifically the prevalence of burnout amongst radiologists working in the trenches in private practice," Parikh told AuntMinnie.com. "Equally important, we wanted to help evaluate potential factors associated with private practice radiologist burnout."
Burnout continues to persist in the medical field, with radiologists facing multiple "tectonic" forces in recent years such as consolidation, changing payment models, and disruptive technologies among others, the researchers noted.
In the 2022 study, Parikh's group found that one in three private practice radiology leaders experienced burnout and that stress management -- or lack thereof -- was an important influence on the condition. For this study, the team assessed burnout prevalence and professional fulfillment across a range of private practice radiologists, not just practice leaders, and investigated any ties between burnout and demographic, practice, or self-care factors.
Out of 254 radiologists who participated in the survey, almost half (46%) reported experiencing burnout and only a quarter (26.7%) reported feeling professional fulfillment. The researchers also found that radiologists who took evening, overnight, and weekend call reported the highest level of burnout, with an odds ratio of 2.53 (1 as reference) compared with radiologists who did not take these types of call.
Radiologists ages 65 or younger were more likely to report burnout than those over 65. As for self-care, radiologists who ate moderately or minimally nutritious meals were less likely to report professional fulfillment than those who ate very or extremely nutritious meals (odds ratio, 0.467). The researchers also noted a slight association between exercise and a feeling of professional fulfillment, finding that radiologists who exercise at least four times a week are more likely to feel fulfilled at work.
These results present an opportunity for radiology practice leaders to help alleviate burnout by reviewing their call structure and promoting self-care to improve radiologists' sense of professional fulfillment, Parikh said.