Medical oncology job satisfaction: Results of a global survey

Michael J. Raphael, Adam Fundytus, Wilma M. Hopman, Verna Vanderpuye, Bostjan Seruga, Gilberto Lopes, Nazik Hammad, Manju Sengar, Michael D. Brundage, Richard Sullivan, Christopher M. Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: While physician burnout is increasingly recognized, little is known about medical oncologist job satisfaction, and the factors associated with low satisfaction. Here, we report the results of an international survey of medical oncologists. Methods: An online survey was distributed using a modified snowball methodology via national oncology societies to chemotherapy-prescribing physicians in 65 countries. Oncologist job satisfaction was assessed by asking, “On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your satisfaction as an oncologist? 1 = unsatisfying, 10 = satisfying.” Low, moderate and high job satisfaction was defined as scores of 1-6, 7-8, and 9-10, respectively. Results: 1,115 physicians from 42 countries completed the survey. Overall job satisfaction rates were 20% (222/1,115), 51% (573/1,115), and 29% (320/1,115) for low-, moderate-, and high-satisfaction, respectively. Respondents with low job satisfaction were younger (P = 0.001) and had fewer years in clinical practice (P = 0.013) compared to those with high satisfaction. Increasing hours worked by per week (p = 0.042), decreasing annual weeks of paid vacation (P = 0.007), being on-call every night (P = 0.016), higher clinic volumes (P = 0.004) and lack of access to on-site radiotherapy (P = 0.049), palliative care (P = 0.005), and chemotherapy pharmacists (P = 0.033) were associated with low-job satisfaction. Respondents with low-job satisfaction were less likely to discuss prognosis with their patients compared to those with moderate or high job satisfaction (median 45% of patients v 65% v 75%, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Globally, 1 in 5 medical oncologists report low job satisfaction. The main correlates of job satisfaction are related to system-level pressures resulting in less time for quality patient care and personal resilience. Improving oncologist job satisfaction will require new approaches to models of care delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Global oncology
  • Oncology job-satisfaction
  • Physician burnout
  • Physician wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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