Work-related stress and reward: an Australian study of multidisciplinary pediatric oncology healthcare providers

Psychooncology. 2015 Nov;24(11):1432-8. doi: 10.1002/pon.3810. Epub 2015 Mar 24.


Objective: Managing staff stress and preventing long-term burnout in oncology staff are highly important for both staff and patient well-being. Research addressing work-related stress in adult oncology is well documented; however, less is known about this topic in the pediatric context. This study examined sources of work-related stress and reward specific to multidisciplinary staff working in pediatric oncology in Australia.

Method: Participants were 107 pediatric oncology clinicians, including medical, nursing, and allied health staff from two Australian pediatric oncology centers. Participants completed an online survey using two newly developed measures: the work stressors scale-pediatric oncology and the work rewards scale-pediatric oncology.

Results: The most commonly reported sources of both stress and reward are related to patient care and interactions with children. Results indicated that levels of work-related stress and reward were similar between the professional disciplines and between the two hospitals. Regression analyses revealed no demographic or organizational factors that were associated with either stress or reward.

Conclusions: Work-related stress and reward are not mutually exclusive; particular situations and events can be simultaneously stressful and rewarding for healthcare providers. Although patient care and interactions with children was found to be the most stressful aspect of working in this speciality, it was also the greatest source of reward. Results are discussed in relation to workplace approaches to staff well-being and stress reduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pediatrics*
  • Reward*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work / psychology*
  • Young Adult