Identifying and Eliminating Cases of Burnout in Radiation Therapists
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Using a linear accelerator, radiation therapists are responsible for the accurate and precise administration of ionizing radiation as a treatment for cancer patients. Every patient's treatment is unique to their anatomy and extent of disease, with the ultimate goal being to ensure the destruction of cancer cells while sparing normal healthy tissue. It can be imagined that because the radiation oncologist must write a prescription for each patient, the dosage of radiation that the patient receives could be compared to a 'drug' and the radiation therapist akin to a pharmacist. Both a pharmacist and a radiation therapist have the final eye that the therapeutic plan has been entered correctly and is accurate to the individual patient. The stakes of such responsibility are high; as just like many drugs, once administered, radiation cannot be reversed. The purpose of this paper is to identify a few of the most prevalent situations in which radiation therapists may experience burnout and to suggest possible solutions to anticipate and prevent the harm that burnout may cause. The results of medical journals, textbooks, peer-reviewed articles, and peer-reviewed research studies on the topic have been reviewed. Burnout of radiation therapists puts patients and other team members in harm’s. Employers, employees, and patients will all greatly benefit from understanding burnout’s relation to radiation therapy in order to prevent it.