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Session: Who's Culpable? Moving Beyond Blame to Create a Just Culture and Avoid Burnout [Return to Session]

Who's Culpable? Moving Beyond Blame to Create a Just Culture and Avoid Burnout

J Johnson1*, D Schofield2*, (1) Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston, TX, (2) AdventHealth Orlando, Clermont, FL


11:30 AM Areas of Worklife: Fairness and the Role of a Just Culture in a Healthy Work Environment - J Johnson, Presenting Author
11:55 AM The Toll of the Job: Burnout and the Medical Physicist - D Schofield, Presenting Author
12:20 PM Audience Q&A - D Schofield, Presenting Author

MO-B-TRACK 1-0 (Monday, 7/26/2021) 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

When clinics first began to care about patient incidents, punitive action was often taken against the healthcare worker. When safety experts recognized the environment’s role, some clinics shifted to a blame free culture. We currently know however, that the Goldilocks “just right” clinical environment is one with a just culture. An organization with a just culture uses systems methodology when investigating an error or incident and evaluates the role of both the involved healthcare worker as well as the organization. Instead of focusing solely on the “sharp end”, or the employee who made the mistake, a just culture looks to identify systematic factors that led to the error. The organization is responsible for a work environment that is fair to its staff while still endorsing personal accountability. Often, an organization with a genuine just culture environment also has a healthy work environment.

Burnout has recently been recognized by the World Health Organization as an occupational phenomenon that can manifest itself in a number of different ways. One of the current theories suggests that the probability of burnout increases as the mismatch between the individuals own value system and that of their organization diverges. One example of this potential mismatch is an employee’s expectation of a just and fair work environment while the organization operates from a punitive stance. Based on data from a recent survey on burnout in medical physicists, the prevalence of burnout in our profession, and correlates to organizational features will be presented.

This session will provide an overview of just culture and explore ways to encourage a fair work environment in your workplace. An overview of burnout, it’s relationship with your work environment, and the potential implications of burnout will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1) Understand just culture and ways to encourage a fair environment in your workplace.
2) Review the signs and potential causes of burnout.
3) Explore the prevalence of burnout in our profession and understand the potential implications of burnout on yourself and others.



Operations Research


Leadership: Emotional Self-Awareness - Recognizing how our emotions affect our performance.

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