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Radiation Oncologist Burnout – Using Locums to Solve the Staffing Issue

By April 24, 2017 No Comments

radiation-oncologist-locums-staffingThe healthcare industry isn’t the same as it used to be. Modern changes in society are affecting budgets, influencing staffing, and changing the lives of physicians. These changes are taking a toll on physicians in a variety of specialties, but radiation oncologists are among those that have been hit particularly hard.

In an effort to achieve a better work-life balance, more radiation oncologists are taking locums work to allow for increased autonomy and flexibility. That, along with a general staffing shortage projected within the next few years, can make things challenging for hospitals trying to recruit radiation oncologists.

Burnout Dilemma

According to Medscape Oncology Lifestyle Report 2016: Bias and Burnout, 46% of oncologists report that they’re burned out. For radiation oncologists, the rate is closer to 50%. In these surveys, burnout “is defined as loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.”

The top causes reported for oncologist burnout are too many bureaucratic tasks, spending too many hours at work, increasing computerization of practice, maintenance of certification requirements, too low of an income, and too many patient appointments in a day.

Oncologists weren’t the specialty that reported the highest rate of burnout, but they did rank third in most severe burnout rate. And the burnout rates are climbing. Just the year before, in Medscape’s 2015 report, oncologists reported a burnout rate of 44%. That’s only 2% lower than last year’s report, but it still means the numbers are rising.

Staffing Issues

In addition to the problem of oncologist burnout, an ASCO workforce study offers projections that medical and radiation oncology services will significantly outpace the availability by 2020. That will result in a shortage of 2,550 to 4,080 oncologists.

While radiation oncology is a relatively small specialty, it’s a much-needed one. Up to 65% of all cancer patients need radiation therapy and the demand for radiation oncologists isn’t going away anytime soon. Hospital systems have to find a way to address both the problem of oncologist burnout and the staffing shortage.

Solving The Problem

Hospitals looking to solve their staffing problem and oncologists looking for a more flexible schedule can turn to healthcare recruiting firms. But the larger firms often command a high price for pairing jobs with candidates and they might not understand the specialized issues in play when matching hospitals with radiation oncologists. The alternative is boutique firms specializing in radiation oncology.

RadCoverage was founded by a practicing oncologist who understands the industry. We know what’s needed to perform treatments and will screen out candidates that aren’t actually qualified. In addition, we offer a much more reasonable commission fee. Whether you’re a radiation oncologist looking for locum work or a hospital trying to solve your staffing shortage, we’ve got you covered.

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