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.
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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.
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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.
Gossip. Infighting. Complaints. Cliques. Drama is what occurs when team members aren’t given the tools or support they need to rise above stress, selfishness, and disagreements. Team drama wreaks havoc on organizational health. It damages morale, productivity, engagement, and retention. Drama leads to customer complaints, lost revenue, and a talent exodus. —No More Team Drama, by Joe Mull, MEd, CSP
When someone assumes a leadership position, the task of “managing personalities” is not often top of mind. But according to Joe Mull, MEd, CSP, that ability can be the most important an effective leader can possess. “As it does elsewhere, conflict occurs naturally in the workplace,” says Mull. “Leaders often know part of their job is to foster team spirit, but they don’t always know how to do it.”
Mull says he is on a mission to rid healthcare of bad bosses and troubled teams. The author of No More Team Drama and Cure for the Common Leader, Mull is the former head of Learning and Development for Physician Services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he directed learning strategy and implementation for one of the largest physician groups in the U.S. Today, Mull travels the country giving healthcare leaders and teams the skills and tools they need to navigate the people management challenges they face each day. Mull will share his experiences as a featured speaker at the ACCC 36th National Oncology Conference, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Florida.
Mull mixes humor and sage advice to teach leaders how they can be most effective in the midst of the interpersonal drama that can be an inevitable occurrence in any workplace. “I am not saying that if you follow my advice, drama will never occur,” he explains. “People are people. But leaders can do something about drama occurring at a level at which it does harm to or negatively affects staff morale or patient care. If you can move the needle even 20 percent, that can be a profound change for an organization.”
In healthcare delivery, patients’ impressions of the care they receive depends on how much they believe employees are trying to help them, Mull says. This applies to all staff members, from parking attendants to physicians. “If employees are consumed by infighting at the workplace,” says Mull, “they are wasting the mental resources that they should be devoting to patients.”
To avoid this, Mull advises leaders to take proactive steps to make employees feel like part of a cohesive team. He advises leaders to encourage staff to get to know one another beyond their work roles to cultivate a sense of unity. “We have to rally team members around the same goals and missions in the workplace,” says Mull. “If you give them a mission worthy of their purpose, you can transform the employee—and patient—experience.”
Join us at the ACCC National Oncology Conference in Orlando this fall, where featured speaker Joe Mull will share the four key steps to replacing workplace discord with team cohesion. Discover all the conference has to offer.
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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