Impact of Closed Facebook Group Participation on Female Hematology/Oncology Physicians

J Oncol Pract. 2018 Dec;14(12):e758-e769. doi: 10.1200/JOP.18.00448.


Purpose: Meaningful connections are an important aspect of career satisfaction. The Hematology Oncology Women Physician Group (HOWPG) is a private Facebook (FB) group of 936 women who practice within the hematology/oncology (H/O) field. We hypothesized that HOWPG adds value to education, emotional wellness, and practice of oncology for its membership. A survey was conducted within HOWPG to define group impact on members.

Materials and methods: A voluntary, anonymous 12-question online survey was distributed to members of HOWPG by sharing the survey link within the FB group. Participants were surveyed regarding demographics, general FB versus exclusive HOWPG use, and opinions regarding HOWPG value and impact.

Results: A total of 169 members completed the survey; 9% were fellows, 65% had been in practice less than 10 years, and 26% had been in practice 10 years or more; 97% were age younger than 50 years; 85% practiced adult H/O, and the remainder divided their practice among pediatric H/O, radiation oncology, surgical specialty, and palliative care; 90% used FB at least daily, with 82% accessing HOWPG at least daily. The most common uses for the site included education (65% to 89%), advice on complex cases (65%), emotional support (65%), and networking (55%). On a scale of 1 to 10, learning from clinical cases (9.0) and emotional support (8.4) were rated the most beneficial aspects. Respondents felt HOWPG, when compared with FB in general, was more likely to improve career satisfaction and reduce professional burnout.

Conclusion: HOWPG provides an opportunity for education and clinical and emotional support. Social media can be an effective venue to educate physicians, augment patient care via advice, foster networking, reduce burnout, and improve career satisfaction among female physicians in the field of H/O.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional
  • Career Choice
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Hematology / trends*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Medical Oncology / trends
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Women / psychology*
  • Social Media*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires