Findings of an exclusive Urology Times survey raise questions about the safety of urologic practice.
Findings of an exclusive Urology Times survey raise questions about the safety of urologic practice. The following graphics detail the survey's results.
32% of respondents reported experiencing work-pain more than once per week in the past 12 months. Other answer choices included approximately weekly (21%), approximately monthly (18%), less than once per month (17%), and not at all (13%).
For the question, "Where has pain/discomfort been experienced?" 70% of respondents indicated their neck, while 66%, 48%, 39%, and 10% reported back, shoulders, wrists/hands, and elbows, respectively.
20% of urologists surveyed reported having been diagnosed with degenerative lumbar spine disease. Other conditions reported included degenerative cervical spine disease (17%), arthritis (15%), rotator cuff pathology (13%), carpal tunnel syndrome (8%), and acute spinal injury (4%).
Asked to what they attributed their pain/discomfort, 33% cited an awkward position in OR. Other responses included extended periods of standing (15%), equipment (eg: lead apron, loupes) (8%), lifting/moving a patient (6%), and assault/physical abuse by a patient and assault/physical abuse by a provider (both 1%).
Asked about the effect of pain/discomfort on their work, 56% said they were able to work with minor/moderate discomfort, while 29% reported being able to work with significant discomfort. Eight percent required a leave of absence (median leave of absence: 28 days), 5% were able to do work, but their ability to do surgery was affected, and 2% said their pain/discomfort led an early retirement/ended their career.
75% of urologists reported experiencing needle stick. Respondents were also asked about whether they experienced dry or cracked skin (experienced by 58%), anxiety (experienced by 50%), physical threat/abuse by a patient (experienced by 42%), eyestrain (experienced by 39%), depression (experienced by 28%), physical threat/abuse by a provider (experienced by 14%), and other physical/psychological issue (experienced by 11%; select fill-in responses included stress, PTSD, financial abuse, corruption, and academic threatening).
Asked whether they had ever been physically attacked/abused by a provider, 92% of respondents said they had not.
Asked to rate their knowledge of surgical ergonomics, 44% chose adequate, 37% chose minimal, 9% chose extensive, and 9% chose nonexistent.
How the survey was conducted
Urology Times conducted a survey of readers via email in June and July of 2019 to determine the frequency and type of work-related pain/injury they have experienced. Special thanks to Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, of the Urology Times Editorial Council, who reviewed and critiqued survey questions developed by the editorial staff. All survey recipients were subscribers to Urology Times, and all were required to report being a urologist or urology resident before responding. A total of 165 responses were received.