Rising up through ranks of the corporate ladder is a saying that most would never think to apply to radiologists. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology has found that in recent years, radiologists are more concerned with career advancement than fostering a strong and nurturing work environment.
According to the study’s authors, Richard B. Gunderman, MD, PhD, Chancellor’s Professor of radiology at Indiana University’s School of Medicine and Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, chief medical officer of the American College of Radiology’s Radiology Leadership Institute, two established veterans in the radiology field, self-interested careerism is a phenomenon that is taking hold of radiology departments. They write that the motive for radiologists to perfect their resume takes precedent over building relationships with their colleagues and strengthening work culture.
Careerism isn’t just detrimental to the department’s culture, it can be harmful to the organization’s systems. When a worker is more concerned with their professional aspirations than their colleagues or environment, their apathy weakens the fundamental parts of the organization. “This kind of self-interested careerism takes a toll not only on the organizations at which these individuals spend a few years before moving onward and upward, but also on the careerists themselves, many of whom are unable to find any real satisfaction in the roles they play at any particular time,” write Gunderman and Lexa.
So, how can careerism be dismantled in the radiology field? The authors say the solution starts with commitment. “Being a physician and successfully contributing to organizations and communities requires a level and length of commitment that is inconsistent with the careerist’s short game,” the authors write. “We need more people who operate with a wider, deeper and longer-term commitment.”