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.