Lessons learned: A single academic department's unique approach to preventing physician burnout


      Physician burnout is a recognized problem within medicine and its prevalence appears to be increasing. The symptoms include three major components; exhaustion, depersonalization and feeling a lack of accomplishment. The presence of burnout can have major professional and personal consequences. While there has been much commentary on the impact of burnout, little has been published addressing ways to prevent and resolve the issue. Our department has taken a novel and individualized approach to lower burnout. This includes allowing faculty to personalize their schedules as demonstrated by the perspectives of four breast imaging faculty. We as physicians are as diverse as the patient population we treat which needs to be recognized when addressing solutions to burnout. We propose that most practices and departments can find meaningful ways to allow physicians to increase their sense of autonomy through flexibility and control in scheduling. Having leadership open to unique and sometimes unconventional approaches enables a mutually beneficial culture of respect, productivity, and wellness.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Clinical Imaging
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Maslach C.
        • Leiter M.P.
        Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry.
        World Psychiatry. 2016; 15: 103-111
        • Harolds J.A.
        • Parikh J.R.
        • Bluth E.I.
        • Dutton S.C.
        • Recht M.P.
        Burnout of radiologists: frequency, risk factors, and remedies: a report of the ACR Commission on Human Resources.
        J Am Coll Radiol. 2016; 13: 411-416
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        • Boone S.
        • Tan L.
        • Dyrbye L.N.
        • Sotile W.
        • Satele D.
        • et al.
        Burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance among US physicians relative to the general US population.
        Arch Intern Med. 2012; 172: 1377-1385
        • Wallace J.E.
        • Lemaire J.B.
        • Ghali W.A.
        Physician wellness: a missing quality indicator.
        Lancet. 2009; 374: 1714-1721
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        • Bradley K.A.
        • Wipf J.E.
        • Back A.L.
        Burnout and self-reported patient care in an internal medicine residency program.
        Ann Intern Med. 2002; 136: 358-367
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        • Sloan J.A.
        • Habermann T.M.
        The well-being of physicians.
        Am J Med. 2003; 114: 513-519
        • Oreskovich M.R.
        • Kaups K.L.
        • Balch C.M.
        • Hanks J.B.
        • Satele D.
        • Sloan J.
        • et al.
        Prevalence of alcohol use disorders among American surgeons.
        Arch Surg. 2012; 147: 168-174
        • West C.P.
        • Dyrbye L.N.
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        Physician burnout: contributors, consequences and solutions.
        J Intern Med. 2018; 283: 516-529
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        • Hasan O.
        • Dyrbye L.N.
        • Sinsky C.
        • Satele D.
        • Sloan J.
        • et al.
        Changes in burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in physicians and the general US working population between 2011 and 2014.
        Mayo Clin Proc. 2015; 90: 1600-1613
        • Ganeshan D.
        • Rosenkrantz A.B.
        • Bassett Jr, R.L.
        • Williams L.
        • Lenchik L.
        • Yang W.
        Burnout in Academic Radiologists in the United States.
        Acad Radiol. 2020; S1076-6332 ([published online ahead of print, 2020 Feb 6]): 30023-30028
        • West C.P.
        • Dyrbye L.N.
        • Erwin P.J.
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        Interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Lancet (London, England). 2016; 388: 2272-2281
        • Patel R.S.
        • Bachu R.
        • Adikey A.
        • Malik M.
        • Shah M.
        Factors related to physician burnout and its consequences: a review.
        Behav Sci (Basel). 2018; 8
        • Maier S.F.
        • Seligman M.E.
        Learned helplessness at fifty: insights from neuroscience.
        Psychol Rev. 2016; 123: 349-367
        • Freeborn D.K.
        Satisfaction, commitment, and psychological well-being among HMO physicians.
        West J Med. 2001; 174: 13-18
        • Jameson J.L.
        • Longo D.L.
        Precision medicine—personalized, problematic, and promising.
        N Engl J Med. 2015; 372: 2229-2234
        • P. C.
        Medscape radiology lifestyle report 2015. Medscape Multispecialty.
        • Parikh J.R.
        • Wolfman D.
        • Bender C.E.
        • Arleo E.
        Radiologist burnout according to surveyed radiology practice leaders.
        J Am Coll Radiol. 2020; 17: 78-81
        • Bluth E.I.
        • Bender C.E.
        • Parikh J.R.
        Burnout: redesign the work process rather than the person.
        J Am Coll Radiol. 2017; 14: 1375-1376