Return to Work of Cancer Survivors: Predicting Healthcare Professionals' Assumed Role Responsibility

J Occup Rehabil. 2019 Jun;29(2):443-450. doi: 10.1007/s10926-018-9807-5.


Purpose Returning to work is highly beneficial for many cancer survivors. While research has documented the significance of healthcare professionals in the process of return to work (RTW), very little is known about those professionals' views regarding their responsibility for RTW. The purpose of the present study was to identify factors that predict the extent to which healthcare professionals view involvement in the RTW of cancer survivors as part of their role. Methods In a cross-sectional design, questionnaires measuring attitudes regarding personal role responsibility for RTW, team role responsibility for RTW and benefits of RTW were administered to 157 healthcare professionals who care for working-age cancer survivors: oncologists, occupational physicians, family physicians, oncology nurses, oncology social workers, and psychologists. Results Both belief in the benefits of RTW, and the view that RTW is the team responsibility of healthcare professionals working with cancer survivors, are positively related to viewing RTW as part of the responsibilities of one's personal professional role. Moderation analysis indicated that perception of team responsibility for RTW moderates the effect of the perceived benefits of RTW, such that the perception of benefits is significantly associated with personal role responsibility only when there is a low level of perceived team responsibility. Conclusions Issues related to RTW should be routinely included in basic and advanced training of healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of working-age cancer survivors, to increase awareness of this aspect of cancer survivors' well-being and position RTW as part of healthcare professionals' role responsibilities.

Keywords: Cancer survivors; Healthcare professionals; Return to work; Role responsibility; Team.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional Role
  • Return to Work*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires