Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being

There are two recent articles in the Ann Surg Oncol titled, "Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being." Some interesting findings regarding career-related stress, coping mechanisms, and work-life balance.

Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being, I: the tension between a culture of productivity and the need for self-care.

Among the 72 surgeons who responded (response rate of 73%), we found that 42% of surgeons reported burnout and 27% psychiatric levels of distress, while 30% used alcohol and 13% used sleep medications as a possible means to cope. Only one third of surgeons reported high quality of life across physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual domains.

Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being, II: modifiable factors and the potential for organizational interventions.

Among the 72 surgeons who responded (response rate of 73%), surgeons identified high stress from medical lawsuits, pressure to succeed in research, financial worries, negative attitudes to gender, and ability to cope with patients' suffering and death. Workplace features requiring greatest change were the reimbursement system, administrative support, and schedule. Work-life balance and relationship issues with spouse or partner caused high stress. Strongest correlations with distress were a desire to change communication with patients and the tension between the time devoted to work versus time available to be with family. Surgeons' preferences for interventions favored a fitness program, nutrition consultation, and increased socialization with colleagues, with less interest in interventions conventionally used to address psychological distress.



Guest RS, Baser R, Li Y, Scardino PT, Brown AE, Kissane DW. Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being, I: the tension between a culture of productivity and the need for self-care.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 May;18(5):1229-35. Epub 2011 Mar 12.
PMID: 21399884

Guest RS, Baser R, Li Y, Scardino PT, Brown AE, Kissane DW. Cancer surgeons' distress and well-being, II: modifiable factors and the potential for organizational interventions.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 May;18(5):1236-42. Epub 2011 Mar 12.
PMID: 21399883

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