Oncologists are highly trained medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and health centers. Oncologists typically work long hours, with an average of 51 hours per week and treating an average of 51 outpatients per week. Interns often have to work rotating shifts, while those in a health network may have more structured hours.
The survey conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) included 3,000 oncologists from 8,998 U. S. oncologists. It revealed that younger age and higher number of hours spent seeing patients each week were independently associated with exhaustion in all models.
The survey also showed that many of the risk factors for burnout differed between AP and PP oncologists, suggesting that efforts to reduce burnout should be adapted to the practice environment. Oncologists are doctors and largely follow the same formal educational path as other doctors. After completing the fellowship, oncologists can apply for board certification or undergo additional training in subspecialties such as pediatric oncology and hematology. PP oncologists saw nearly twice as many patients per week, were more likely to receive compensation in an incentive-based model, and were less likely to focus their practice on a specific area of oncology. Most oncologists indicated that they would choose to return to being doctors (82.5%) and oncologists (80.5%) if they could review their professional and specialty choices.
Hours per week dedicated to direct patient care were the dominant professional factor associated with burnout. Oncologists are essential members of the healthcare team who provide vital care for cancer patients. While their work is demanding, it is also rewarding as they help patients through difficult times and strive to improve outcomes.