The well-being and personal wellness promotion strategies of medical oncologists in the North Central Cancer Treatment Group

Tait D. Shanafelt, Paul Novotny, Mary E. Johnson, Xinghua Zhao, David P. Steensma, Martha Q. Lacy, Joseph Rubin, Jeff Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The well-being of oncologists is important to the well-being of their patients. While much is known about oncologist distress, little is known about oncologist well-being. We set out to evaluate oncologist well-being and the personal wellness promotion strategies used by oncologists. Patients and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey of medical oncologists in the North Central Cancer Treatment Group using a validated instrument to measure quality of life. Study-specific questions explored stressors, wellness promotion strategies and career satisfaction. Results: Of 241 responding oncologists (response rate 61%), 121 (50%) reported high overall well-being. Being age 50 or younger (57 vs. 41%; p = 0.01), male (53 vs. 31%; p = 0.01) and working 60 h or less per week (50 vs. 33%; p = 0.005) were associated with increased overall well-being on bivariate analysis. Ratings of the importance of a number of personal wellness promotion strategies differed for oncologists with high well-being compared with those without high well-being. Developing an approach/philosophy to dealing with death and end-of-life care, using recreation/ hobbies/exercise, taking a positive outlook and incorporating a philosophy of balance between personal and professional life were all rated as substantially more important wellness strategies by oncologists with high well-being (p values <0.001). Oncologists with high overall well-being also reported greater career satisfaction. Conclusion: Half of medical oncologists experience high overall well-being. Use of specific personal wellness promotion strategies appears to be associated with oncologist well-being. Further investigations of the prevalence, promotion, causes, inequities and clinical impact of physician well-being are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalOncology
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005

Keywords

  • Communication
  • End-of-life care
  • Physicians
  • Stress
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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