• The modern radiology department
operates within an environment of competition, increased regulation, and
decreasing budgets. Functioning in this
setting may lead the radiology manager
to experience job related stress.
• Stress in the workplace has been linked
to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal
disorders. While there are a number of
triggers for job related stress, it is important to identify the early warning signs
and knee-jerk reactions.
• Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of several techniques that can be used to
reduce job related stress. The key components of EI are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY “Those who have conquered
themselves, live in peace.” This quotation
from an ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad
Gita, was written almost three thousand
years ago, yet it can be relevant to today’s
overburdened radiology manager. In a
setting of layoffs, cutbacks, increasing
regulation, competition, and patient
satisfaction scores, the radiology manager will find it difficult to be free from
anxiety. There is bound to be stress in the
manager’s day; that is the nature of the
job. Handling these pressures is the key
to peace of mind and a happy and productive workplace.
The radiology manager is challenged
by a daily profusion of pressure. There
is a demand to meet rising expectations,
yet there is no increase in job satisfaction.
While the required decisions, paperwork,
billing issues, and quality assurance may
resemble the burden on managers in other
fields, for healthcare managers there is one
important difference: lives are at stake.
In the hierarchy of healthcare enterprises such as hospitals, the radiology
manager is typically considered a middle
manager. To this end, the American Psychology Association (APA) points out that
middle managers are distinguished by “the
need to respond to others’ demands and
timetables, with little control over events.” 1
This environment can lead to feelings of
powerlessness; a situation that the APA
claims is a universal cause of job stress.
The radiology manager faces an
ever lengthening to do list while at the
same time being asked to do more with
less. The burden of these obligations
combined with the duties of leader-
ship can make for some rough days.
Despite these challenges, a manager
must remain professional; that is a part
of the job. There may be passion for
the work, but this passion could affect
expectations and behavior, resulting in
job related stress.
While occasional episodes of stress
pose little risk, when stressful situations
persist, the body is kept in a constant
state of defense. This condition of elevated awareness increases wear and tear
to biological systems. The body’s capacity to bear this mistreatment varies from
person to person, but the end result is
usually fatigue or damage.
The Center for Disease Control
(CDC) defines job stress as “the harmful
physical and emotional responses that
occur when the requirements of the job
do not match the capabilities, resources,
or needs of the worker. Job stress can
lead to poor health and even injury.” 2
Furthermore, this stress can impact the
nature of interactions with others. The
CDC states that over time, “the ability
By Daniel DiPaola, MS, RT(R), CRA
Stress Reduction in
The credit earned from the Quick CreditTM test
accompanying this article may be applied to the
AHRA certified radiology administrator (CRA)
human resources management.