Objective: Despite recent advances in the outcome of children with cancer, the demands on medical professionals caring for these patients can be intense. Our qualitative study explored the work-related demands and rewards experienced by Canadian pediatric oncology staff.
Study Design: Interviews were conducted with 33 staff members (10 oncologists, 3 subspecialty residents, 9 nurses, 5 social workers, and 6 child life specialists) from 4 hospitals. Participants were asked to describe work-related rewards and demands. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Interview transcripts were analyzed to identify all sources of demands and rewards.
Results: Pediatric oncology staff described work-related rewards and demands related to the following areas: (1) working with children; (2) working with families; (3) working within a multidisciplinary health care team; (4) working in a pediatric oncology unit; and (5) working within a hospital or academic health center. Overall, health care providers described their job as fulfilling and meaningful. For most health care providers, many work-related issues were described as both rewarding and demanding.
Conclusions: Our study identifies important demands and rewards associated with working in pediatric oncology. Future research could explore the relationship between work-related stress and job satisfaction and how these factors either cause or prevent burnout syndrome.
*Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
†Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
This study was funded by a Grant from the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario.
Anne Klassen is a recipient of Canadian Institute of Health Research career award. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.
Reprints: David Dix, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, A119D, 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 4C9 Canada (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received October 3, 2011
Accepted March 29, 2012