My intended career pathway lies in becoming a radiology technician, a medical professional who uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases. I have chosen this career due to the underlying aspects of my personality — my desire to serve the community and my affinity for technology. However, the profession of a radiologist is fraught with everyday workplace stress, which might be harmful both for specialist and their patients. This paper will discuss possible stressors in a radiologist’s job and the application of stress and coping theory to alleviate them.
Research-based Problem of Career Pathway
Empirical evidence suggests that beginning radiologists face various stress factors, which might negatively influence their working effectiveness. For instance, student radiographers in South Africa encountered unpredictable placement and practicalities, experienced dissatisfaction with workplace conditions, and were tasked to make decisions like mature professionals (Johnson et al., 2019). In addition, new technologies in medical imaging, such as AI, can cause distress due to the apparent lack of necessary knowledge or disbelief in their effectiveness (Botwe et al., 2021). Therefore, a beginning radiologist like me has a significant probability of encountering workplace stress. The stressors might be different — high responsibility combined with low experience, sophisticated technologies, or workplace community. Nevertheless, a radiologist will have to overcome stress to stay professionally effective regardless of its origin, which is a significant concern of my career pathway.
Application of Stress and Coping Theory
Workplace stress poses a serious problem and creates obstacles to effective healthcare provision. However, stress and coping theory provide viable strategies for stress level reduction. In general, this theory explains how an individual reacts to threatening events and outside stimuli (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). In the end, a selected way of coping the stress affects how it influences an individual (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). Therefore, a radiologist who faces workplace stress can identify its cause, choose a suitable coping strategy, and minimize the harmful impact.
There are two main concepts or stress coping strategies present within the theory. Problem-focused coping emphasizes altering the stressful environment in a way that reduces stress (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). This strategy implies an active intervention from an individual who implements practical measures aimed at direct stress reduction. For example, a student radiologist might be dissatisfied with excessive responsibility that does not match their status. Within a problem-solving coping strategy, a radiologist would request a clear breakdown of their duties and explicitly state what professional competencies they possess. As a result, head radiologists would have to provide better instructions and support instead of demanding to meet impossible requirements.
On the other hand, emotion-focused coping prioritizes changing internal emotions to stressors. Instead of directly altering the stressful environment, individuals change how they express their feelings or start thinking differently to reduce stress (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). In the context of radiology, a specialist might begin to perceive AI implementation in medical imaging as a means to improve the accuracy of diagnostics rather than a threat to make their job redundant.
Overall, stress and coping theory seem to have significant relevance for my career pathway. As a beginning radiologist, I might face some of the stress-inducing issues discussed in the scholarly sources. Therefore, I must be well-equipped to deal with various factors contributing to workplace stress issues. Stress and coping theory provides two robust strategies which can be used to reduce stress related to workplace community, organizational problems, unfair level of responsibility, and unfamiliar technologies.
Research-based Analysis of Workplace Stress Problem in Radiology
The problem of stress in radiology might cause a negative impact both on personal and societal levels. On the personal level, workplace stress diminishes confidence and creates an unpleasant sense of confusion and dissatisfaction. For example, young radiographers claimed to be “overwhelmed, freaking out” due to a mismatch of expectations between their current level of competence and requirements (Johnson et al., 2019, p.6). I would also feel quite uncomfortable if the chief radiologist started to put significant responsibility on me without proper preparation.
On the societal level, workplace stress in radiology might lead to a situation in which young specialists avoid that career pathway. According to Sit et al. (2020), 49% of 484 surveyed UK medical students do not consider radiology a possible career choice (as cited in Botwe et al., 2021, p. 266). Those students were concerned that AI would make their jobs redundant (Botwe et al., 2021). Essentially, they were stressed and afraid of technology even before becoming healthcare professionals, which is concerning for the healthcare industry.
Research-based Synthesis of Solutions to Workplace Stress Problem in Radiology
On a personal level, the problem of workplace stress in radiology can be solved by selecting a correct coping strategy. Depending on the circumstances, a radiologist might start an open discussion to alter the workplace environment or change their emotional reaction towards a particular stressor. On the other hand, a solution for the societal dimension would be much more difficult to implement. For example, stress related to AI in radiology can be alleviated only through rigorous educational programs in medical universities. In this regard, a problem-focused coping strategy has to be extrapolated on a national level.
Most importantly, the knowledge attained from the sources improved my understanding of workplace stressors in radiology. For instance, now I understand how poorly the working process can be organized and how damaging it can be for the practitioner’s state of mind. However, I also obtained valuable information about stress coping strategies, which might be useful in my career. Overall, workplace stress must not remain unchecked since it has significant harmful implications on personal and societal levels.
Botwe, B. O., Antwi, W. K., Arkoh, S., & Akudjedu, T. N. (2021). Radiographers’ perspectives on the emerging integration of artificial intelligence into diagnostic imaging: The Ghana study. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 68(3), 260-268. Web.
Johnson, B. B., Makanjee, C. R., & Hoffmann, W. A. (2019). The emerging radiographer’s transient community service professional career pathway. Health SA Gesondheid, 24(1), 1-10. Web.
Pastorino, E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. (2019). What is psychology? Foundations, applications, and integration (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.