Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Ram A. Cnaan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joretha Bourjolly, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D.


The increased prevalence of cancer diagnoses ensures that oncology healthcare professionals will be faced with more challenges than ever before in their work with cancer patients, especially in hospital environments. The literature demonstrates that professional caregivers are at risk for burnout (BO), compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress (CF/STS), job stress and job satisfaction and have minimal forums for which they can share their experiences. In an environment of ever-shrinking resources, it is imperative to use innovative methods to help the professionals cope with the day-to-day challenges of caring for terminally ill individuals. This exploratory mixed-methods study investigated the efficacy of a narrative intervention group with oncology professionals. Forty oncology health care providers from three inpatient oncology units completed the Health Consultants’ Job Stress & Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (HCJJSQ), the Professional Quality of Life Scale: Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout and Fatigue Scale Version IV (ProQOL-CSF-R-IV), and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) with subscales of emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA), pre- and post-intervention along with post-session evaluations with three Likert questions and three open-ended questions in addition to ten in-depth interviews. Statistically significant decreases were found in BO, CF/STS, EE, DP, and job stress with significant increases in job satisfaction from the first month to the fourth month. Professionals discussed the rigors of their work and their impressions of the narrative oncology groups reporting overall positive experiences with specific appreciation for shared perspectives and finding comfort within the narrative exchange.

Included in

Social Work Commons