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Oncology Team Well-Being

Mini-Z Survey Results

Results from Mini Z Burnout Survey

To gauge the level of burnout in the multidisciplinary cancer care team, ACCC recently surveyed its membership using the clinically validated Mini Z survey developed by the American Medical Association. While only a small number of respondents (14.9%) report dissatisfaction with their current job, burnout and stress levels are significant.
Download Survey Infographic

ACCC Institute for the Future of Oncology

The sixth annual ACCC Institute held in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2018, convened more than 30 experts in cancer care, wellness, and resiliency to share insights on what is fueling burnout among members of the cancer care team and what needs to happen on both on both a micro and macro level to support and improve team well-being. The day-long forum discussion focused on ACCC President Tom Gallo’s 2018-2019 presidential theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.
Read the Executive Summary


Community-Based Psychological First Aid for Oncology Professionals
By Sam Gaster, Christina Early, Amanda Reed, and Brandon Gray

Training in community-based psychological first aid is a promising intervention that promotes adaptive functioning by instilling individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to support oneself and others when stressful events occur. The Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D., has conducted Community-Based Psychological First Aid for Oncology Professionals for its workforce since August 2017.

Beyond Burnout

Tom Gallo, MS, MDA
President, Association of Community Cancer Centers
August 13, 2018
Compass Pointing to Well-Being

A privilege of serving as ACCC President is selecting a theme for your term in office and then having the opportunity to bring together thought leaders and key stakeholders for an in-depth conversation to explore the issue and develop strategies to address it. On June 27, 2018, the sixth annual ACCC Institute for the Future of Oncology forum was held in Washington, D.C., for a conversation focused on my ACCC President’s theme “Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.” During the half-day meeting, experts and leaders from within and outside of oncology participated in activities to spark creative thinking and dialogue, breaking into small groups to discuss two critical areas with great potential to impact resiliency and well-being: 1) organizational structure and culture and 2) practice efficiency and administrative burden.

While it’s difficult to convey the dynamic energy of the day’s discussion here, I can share some key takeaways:

  • Leaders must see well-being as a strategic initiative and fund it accordingly; they must prioritize a healthy workforce by investing in the necessary staff and infrastructure to meet this goal. Many organizations have created the executive level position of Chief Experience Officer to oversee the efforts for employee engagement and well-being as well as patient satisfaction. To be successful, organizations and individuals must make well-being a priority.
  • Although physician resiliency and burnout have garnered attention, there is a critical need to develop tools and resources for the entire cancer care team. The Cleveland Clinic has taken the step of defining every staff member who has contact with a patient as a caregiver. Each one of these team members can experience burnout.
  • Resilient, engaged cancer care teams provide better service and produce better outcomes for our patients.
  • Throughout the cancer care system, varying levels of burnout frequently exist. This is often manifested as physical fatigue, compassion fatigue, and emotional depletion.
  • Practices must normalize wellness and self-care by setting them as expectations and creating an environment where people feel safe to show vulnerability.
  • Trusting leadership and believing in organizational values are essential to a healthy workforce. It is critical to create a culture of trust where staff knows there will be follow-up for concerns and issues.
  • When designing wellness interventions, cancer programs and practices should include team members from all levels of the organization rather than developing a top-down strategy and imposing it on staff.
  • There must be acknowledgement that there are some drivers of burnout that individuals and organizations cannot change; thus, there should be a focus on those areas where individuals and organizations can have an impact.

The Institute meeting is just the initial step in the Association’s year-long effort to develop tools and resources to support wellness and resiliency for every member of the multidisciplinary cancer team. Over the next few months, we will:

  • Construct a burnout measure specifically for cancer care team members, adapted from an existing validated tool
  • Develop a web-based repository of oncology-specific tools related to burnout, resiliency, and well-being
  • Create a resource for building and articulating the business case for improving the well-being of the cancer care team.

To enrich our offerings, we are asking ACCC members to share their experiences working toward improving the resiliency and well-being of cancer program staff. What sort of programs have you tried? Were these focused on the individual, program, or hospital- or health-system level? What worked? What were your challenges? How did you measure improvement? Please send a short description of your efforts—including any tools or resources you’d like to share with others—to And keep in touch. Improving the well-being of the cancer care team is important work that we must do together. Our colleagues and our patients deserve nothing less.

Tom Gallo, MS, MDA, ACCC President 2018-2019, is Executive Director of the Virginia Cancer Institute. 

From Oncology Issues

  • Small in Stature, Large in Impact
    By ACCC Editorial Staff
    Caring for patients with cancer is inherently stressful, but many cancer team members say that their difficulties go beyond the expected emotional strain. Robin Hearne, RN, MS, director of Cancer Services and Chronic Disease Care at The Outer Banks Hospital, elaborates on the burdens of bureaucracy and shares the programs she’s developed to provide staff with necessary tools for patient and self-care.
  • Removing the Blame from Burnout
    ACCC Editorial Staff
    Burnout among U.S. healthcare clinicians is a national concern, and cancer care is no exception. To gauge the level of burnout in the cancer care team, ACCC surveyed its membership and created a hub for team well-being resources.
  • One Best Practice: Streamlining Workflow, Unifying Staff, and Reducing Redundancy
    Elizabeth Koelker, MHA, FACHE
    When Kettering Health Network reorganized its operations by service lines, oncology had major problems—internal competition, communication deficits, inefficiencies, and a lack of infrastructure. Learn how Kettering united its oncology staff under “one best practice,” streamlined operations, increased patient volume, and decreased internal competition.
  • Turning Off Turnover
    Tom Gallo, MS, MDA
    Though stemming burnout at the source is vital work, it is also important to recognize and alleviate symptoms as they appear. One such symptom is decreased workforce retention.
  •  Views: Making the Most out of Drug Representatives
    Connie Renfroe
    Medical science representatives possess critical information about new drug regimens, protocols, and indications. However, scheduling them often requires a part-time position that few practices can afford—it’s a catch-22.
  •  President: Recapping the 2018 ACCC Institute for the Future of Oncology
    Tom Gallo
    On June 27, 2018, ACCC convened the sixth Institute for the Future of Oncology forum in Washington, D.C., to bring together interdisciplinary experts and key stakeholders to discuss my Presidential theme: “Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community.”

Burnout is on the rise as oncology becomes increasingly complex with new treatment options, growing financial toxicity, an aging patient population, and an increasingly burdensome healthcare system. It has received much media attention, with some calling it an epidemic.

Thomas A. Gallo, MS, MDA, ACCC President, selected his 2018–2019 president’s theme: Reflect, Renew, Reignite: Creating a Resilient Oncology Team in Your Community, in order to shed light on the pain points that frustrate physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, pharmacists, and all of the other professionals who collaborate to provide the highest level of patient care.

The ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference, October 17 – 19, in Phoenix, AZ, featured stories and strategies for fostering resilience and a healthcare culture that mitigates burnout among all members of the cancer care team. Three featured speakers inspired while providing practical strategies to help increase engagement, transform your work culture, and embrace experimentation. 

6 essential standards for a healthy work environment

ACCC is committed to identifying shared strategies and solutions to help combat the burnout and frustration that many of its members experience. This Building a Resilient Oncology Team: Issues and Solutions infographic details key findings on clinician burnout and a bevy of solutions to help you mitigate stress and bring the joy back to your workplace. 
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