The Society of Radiographers held a lunch time webinar on 16th March 2021, which was attended by over 200 delegates. The Society is aware of the additional pressure the pandemic has had on an already stretched workforce. This webinar was an opportunity to learn more about burnout and some of the issues relating to that, particularly in terms of patient care and self-care.
Dr Judith Johnson, Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer at the University of Leeds talked for about 50 minutes on the background causes and implications of burnout on patient care and staff well-being. Many factors leading to burnout, exhaustion and disengagement are familiar to sonographers; increased workload, extended hours and staff shortages.
Interestingly we learnt that the NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world, coming just behind McDonalds. Also how it is more cost-effective to retain existing staff that train new staff. Surely as good as reason as any to ensure that staff are supported. A resounding theme from the webinar was that managers in the NHS also need to attend this webinar or training on staff burn out to provide the leadership and support needed for their staff.
Polls were used within the webinar and it was clear that sonographer stresses included high numbers of scans and ‘patient encounters’, along with inter-staff dynamics. Changes that would improve the working environment included longer per scan, CPD offered in work time and more flexible working.
Suggestions for supporting individuals and teams were given, including an unexpected suggestion of drinking coffee. Organisational interventions and individual interventions are needed in tandem.
There were some excellent questions and comments at the end of the webinar, not all of which we had time to answer. Thanks go to Judith for her time and participants for their engagement. The webinar is available on catch up, along with a month of events linked to wellbeing for radiographers through SoR's RADIATE programme.