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I’m writing this on a Monday. Online every Monday the hashtags #MotivationMonday and #MondayMotivation accompany memes with famous quotations designed to encourage and inspire us as we begin a new work week. Why do so many people find Mondays so hard? Are weekends always that good? Many times I’ve written down or tried to remember inspirational quotations that resonate with me. I’ve saved several inspirational memes posted by friends on Facebook. I’ll admit I haven’t gone back to look at them, but I know where to find them. Recently I caught the tail end of a news story that featured a woman––I’m not sure who and my online news search came up empty—giving ...
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How To Be Heard

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There’s a wonderful feeling that comes when someone has genuinely heard what we say. We feel acknowledged and understood. Quite the opposite occurs when we feel we’re neither heard nor understood. We feel isolated and adrift. In “We Can All Be Better Listeners,” I wrote about how we can sharpen our listening skills to be more engaged and attuned to others. On the flipside, we also have to make sure we’re being heard and our needs are being met. It’s a complicated dance but not unachievable. In the workplace, as in life, there are differing perspectives and competing priorities. And sometimes our voice can get lost in the shuffle. In her article, “Speak ...
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I was once told there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are listening and those who are waiting to talk. Stephen Covey said the same thing, though more eloquently: “ Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply .” Too many of us fall into the category of “waiting to talk,” when what we really need is to practice being better listeners. I try to listen carefully and intently to others both in my personal and professional life. Admittedly, sometimes I catch myself not listening as intently as I should, and sometimes I don’t give my undivided attention. It may be because there’s always a next task to ...
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If ever there was a field for which safety culture is critically important, it is radiation oncology. This is due, in part, to the danger posed by introducing radiation to the human body. Add to this multiple human roles in processing every treatment plan, and the psychological complexity of dealing with cancer patients and their hopes, fears and expectations. It becomes important to explore: what are the necessary ingredients to create a successful safety culture? I think there are four pertinent criteria to safety first culture: Leadership vision At an academic medical center, it is typically the chair who expresses the importance of quality/safety ...
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As administrators in radiation oncology many of us are tasked with diverse responsibilities that don’t fit neatly into a job description. Though we are in leadership roles, oftentimes we are the chief cook and the bottlewasher, the go-to people that step in to ensure that last-minute crises are avoided. We get the job done. And while that level of involvement can be rewarding and challenging, it can quickly lead to burnout. Read on for 8 tips to avoid workplace burnout and ensure job satisfaction. Our job requires that we advance the department, but when we are successful, we also advance people. We work with diverse teams of physicians, physicists, clinicians, ...
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In the almost six years I have been writing about radiation oncology for the Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators (SROA), I’ve had the good fortune to interview researchers whose research has changed or will change cancer treatment and patient outcomes. I’ve also had the privilege of talking to administrators and frontline care providers—radiation oncologists, nurses, social workers, etc.—to gather insights to share with SROA’s members about how to enhance care delivery. During that time, immunotherapy has blossomed, proton therapy centers have popped up across the country, survivorship for many cancers has improved, and adaptive planning with MR-guided ...
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