To gauge the level of burnout in the multidisciplinary cancer care team, ACCC recently surveyed its membership using the clinically validated Mini Z survey developed by the American Medical Association. While only a small number of respondents (14.9%) report dissatisfaction with their current job, burnout and stress levels are significant.
Download Survey Infographic
The sixth annual ACCC Institute held in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2018, convened more than 30 experts in cancer care, wellness, and resiliency to share insights on what is fueling burnout among members of the cancer care team and what needs to happen on both on both a micro and macro level to support and improve team well-being. The day-long forum discussion focused on ACCC President Tom Gallo’s 2018-2019 presidential theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.
Read the Executive Summary
Training in community-based psychological first aid is a promising intervention that promotes adaptive functioning by instilling individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support oneself and others when stressful events occur. The Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D., has conducted Community-Based Psychological First Aid for Oncology Professionals for its workforce since August 2017.
Do the following statements sound familiar?
Oncology is the most rapidly changing specialty in healthcare.
We are in the midst of unprecedented change and turbulence in the U.S. healthcare system.
Burnout is a critical issue in healthcare, and it’s especially worrisome in oncology where workforce shortages—and increased demand for services—are anticipated.
If you attended the ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference last week, chances are your answer will be: “Yes, I feel stressed, but I’m not stressed out.”
Across the conference sessions—from featured speakers Vicki Hess, RN, MS, Employee Engagement Solutions, LLC; Julie Oehlert, DNP, Vidant Health; and Dale Dauten, The Innovators' Lab® ; to the 2018 ACCC Innovator Award presentations and “how-to” sessions spotlighting how cancer programs are actively improving patient-centered care delivery—speakers highlighted the many ways that the patient experience and the cancer team’s professional experience are interconnected.
Reflect. Renew. Reignite.
On Thursday morning, Oct. 18, ACCC Secretary Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, BCD, opened the conference by leading hundreds of attendees in a guided mindfulness moment, setting the stage for messages of: engagement, empowerment, disrupting the status quo, daring to suggest new possibilities and share new perspectives, and expressing appreciation, throughout the conference.
Opening speaker Vicki Hess challenged attendees to imagine working in a “professional paradise.” As an antidote to burnout, Hess reminded attendees, “Sometimes you need to fill your own cup and coming to this ACCC National Oncology Conference is one way to do it!”
Don’t Burn Out, Power Up!
“Does your staff feel satisfied, energized, and productive at work?” Hess asked.
When cancer care teams are operating at peak performance, making a difference to patients, “most of the time it’s not due to clinical skills alone,” Hess said, “it’s the bigger picture.” What’s needed to support optimal teamwork is a three-way partnership among individuals, leadership, and the healthcare organization. “The more empowered employees feel, the more they can create a professional paradise.”
For individuals, empowerment starts with understanding that you have choices in how you respond to frustrating, overwhelming, stressful situations (or colleagues) in the workplace. A mindful approach and exercising your power to choose how you respond will boost your resilience, rather than drain your energy, according to Hess.
For example, when a staff member or colleague complains, engage them with empathy, “I hear we have a problem.” Then ask, “What would the organization need to do to fix it? What would you like me to do? What’s your role?”
Hess suggests the following steps may bolster your workplace resiliency:
For organizational change, Hess notes that the following are important prerequisites for moving toward a culture of empowerment:
Stay tuned for more highlights from the ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference.
Burnout is on the rise as oncology becomes increasingly complex with new treatment options, growing financial toxicity, an aging patient population, and an increasingly burdensome healthcare system. It has received much media attention, with some calling it an epidemic.
Thomas A. Gallo, MS, MDA, ACCC President, selected his 2018–2019 president’s theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community, in order to shed light on the pain points that frustrate physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, pharmacists, and all of the other professionals who collaborate to provide the highest level of patient care.
The ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference, October 17 – 19, in Phoenix, AZ, featured stories and strategies for fostering resilience and a healthcare culture that mitigates burnout among all members of the cancer care team. Three featured speakers inspired while providing practical strategies to help increase engagement, transform your work culture, and embrace experimentation.
ACCC is committed to identifying shared strategies and solutions to help combat the burnout and frustration that many of its members experience. This Building a Resilient Oncology Team: Issues and Solutions infographic details key findings on clinician burnout and a bevy of solutions to help you mitigate stress and bring the joy back to your workplace.
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