Radiation Therapists Face More Stressors Compared to Oncology Nurses

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Radiation therapists also have high coping strategy frequency; no difference in anxiety, depression, burnout, well-being.
Radiation therapists also have high coping strategy frequency; no difference in anxiety, depression, burnout, well-being.

For occupational groups in cancer care, radiation therapists (RTs) have higher mean scores for stressors and coping strategies than oncology nurses (ONs), according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences.

Michael G. Poulsen, M.B.B.S., from the Radiation Oncologist Mater Center in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues describe the frequency and severity of potential stressors and effectiveness of coping skills in RTs and ONs. Data were collected from a questionnaire completed by 71 RTs and ONs in two large tertiary hospitals.

According to the researchers, both groups reported that heavy work load was the most severe workplace stressor, although the types of stressors varied between the groups.

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Compared with ONs, RTs reported higher frequency of stressors and coping strategies. No identifiable differences were seen between RTs and ONs in the types or effectiveness of coping strategies employed at home or work.

For both groups, there was an inverse correlation for mental well-being with depression, anxiety, and burnout, and a positive correlation with resilience.

"The results of this research have assisted us in designing a one-day interventional workshop for RTs and ONs which is aimed at improving the personal resources of workers in coping with stress," the authors write.


  1. Poulsen, Michael G., MBBS, FRANZCR, MD, et al. "A cross-sectional study of stressors and coping mechanisms used by radiation therapists and oncology nurses: Resilience in Cancer Care Study." Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences. DOI: 10.1002/jmrs.87. December 22, 2014.

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