2021 will mark the 2nd time we observe National Radiologic Technology Week (Nov. 7 – 13) under the high stress and uncertainty generated by the ongoing pandemic.
The global outbreak of SARS-Cov2 has put in evidence how much our lives depend on the dedication, hard work and skill of healthcare professionals. We are grateful for your professionalism, dedication, and personal sacrifice.
This recognition is important because dating back to pre-pandemic times, radiology physicians were already feeling the weight of mounting workplace demands.
For example, a 2019 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives by Merritt Hawkins, a premier physician search firm, found that radiology was the 5th most requested physician search in 2018-19 whereas six year earlier, in 2012, radiology didn’t even crack the top 20 physician searches.
Furthermore, industry surveys canvassing radiology staff across the country also report that personnel feel their contribution is not always understood or acknowledged, particularly given that industry performance metrics and productivity percentages often fall squarely on the backs of radiologic technicians.
According to a 2015 study conducted by Lynn Reingold, MSRS (Masters in Science in Radiology Sciences), a senior CT technologist for the Veterans Administration in Salt Lake City, few people outside the field realize how much rides on the shoulders of radiology staff.1
She notes that radiologists, while highly specialized in their field, are expected to interact with a wide range of people, including physicians, nurses, department supervisors, emergency personnel, patients with a wide range of conditions, and patient companions and family members who are understandably in varying states of distress.
If this weren’t stressful enough, Reingold notes that “radiologic technologists often must work rotating shifts, handle trauma situations, and inject iodinated contrast agents that might cause an allergic reaction in the patient. [In addition to mental stresses], physical stressors include positioning patients, moving equipment, and the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation, which can cause physical harm.”2
On top of these multiple stressors, the pandemic created an unusual situation. Due to the suspension of all elective and non-urgent exams during the initial Covid-19 lockdown, many appointments were cancelled, which led to a slowdown across the board.
As the patchwork of new Covid-19 protocols emerged in different states, the backlog created by deferred or rescheduled appointments resulted in fuller schedules where working overtime became necessary.
With a return to tight schedules, on top of the pandemic’s added procedural stressors and the fast pace of technology, automation, and outsourcing, staff burnout has decimated the ranks of experienced caregivers.
As a consequence, with hospitals and clinics scrambling to mitigate staff burnout and stem the bleeding from staff turnover, early retirement, and the rising demand for part-time positions, the demand for environmental design solutions for radiology spaces has also hit a new high.
Evidence-based design solutions like Luminous SkyCeilings and Luminous Virtual Windows create environments that help mitigate the chronic stress and fatigue that confining and intimidating radiology suites generate, particularly given that staff work long shifts in these highly artificial settings.
Sky Factory’s team of artists, engineers and craftspeople are driven to deliver the therapeutic benefits of a visual connection to nature via the most credible and relaxing illusions of nature—overhead skies. Our biophilic illusions of natureTM are designed to create high quality and durable installations that will ameliorate the claustrophobic nature of radiology vaults and give staff a feature that provide precognitive relief—and they do that—all day long.
1 Kathy Hardy. “Shoring Up the Front Line: Burnout Prevention for Radiologic Technologists in the Wake of Covid-19.” Radiology Today. Vol. 21 No. 7 p. 18. Retrieved from: radiologytoday.net