(HealthDay News) — About one-third of U.S. oncologists report being satisfied with work-life balance (WLB), which is lower than for other medical specialties, according to a study published online March 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Tait D. Shanafelt, MD., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues surveyed U.S. oncologists to examine satisfaction with WLB and career plans. Data were analyzed from 1,058 oncologists who completed full-length surveys and were not yet retired.

The researchers found that 33.4% of oncologists reported being satisfied with WLB, fewer than other medical specialists, as reported in a recent national study.

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A total of 26.5%, 34.3%, and 28.5%, respectively, reported a moderate or higher likelihood of decreasing their clinical work hours in the next year, leaving their current position within 2 years, and planning to retire before age 65 years.

Satisfaction with WLB was lower for female oncologists (odds ratio, 0.458; P < 0.001) and those who devoted greater time to patient care (odds ratio for each additional hour, 0.977; P < 0.001).

The strongest predictors of intent to reduce clinical work hours and leave current position were satisfaction with WLB and burnout.

“Given the pending U.S. oncologist shortage, additional studies exploring interactions among WLB, burnout, and career satisfaction and their impact on career and retirement plans are warranted,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Shanafelt TD, Raymond M, Kosty M, et al. Satisfaction With Work-Life Balance and the Career and Retirement Plans of US Oncologists. J Clin Oncol. 2014; doi:10.1200/JCO.2013.53.4560.