gms | German Medical Science

27th German Cancer Congress Berlin 2006

German Cancer Society (Frankfurt/M.)

22. - 26.03.2006, Berlin

Job stress and job satisfaction of physicians, radiographers, nurses and physicists working in German radiotherapy: Preliminary survey results

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Susanne Sehlen - Universitätsklinikum, LMU, München
  • Christof Schäfer - Universitätsklinikum, Regensburg
  • Hans Geinitz - Universitätsklinikum, TU München
  • Anja Bayerl - Klinikum, Wien-Neustadt
  • Wolfgang Schulze - Klinikum, Bayreuth
  • Jutta Rittweger - Universitätsklinikum, Halle
  • Claudia Domin - Universitätsklinikum, Frankfurt
  • H. J. Wypior - Klinikum, Landshut
  • Tobias Bölling - Universitätsklinikum, Münster
  • Peter Herschbach - Universitätsklinikum, TU München
  • Steffi Pigorsch - Universitätsklinikum, TU München
  • Franz Zehetmayr - Universitätsklinikum, Salzburg
  • F. Fehlauer
  • Dirk Vordermark

27. Deutscher Krebskongress. Berlin, 22.-26.03.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocPO392

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: March 20, 2006

© 2006 Sehlen et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Ongoing changes in cancer care cause an increase in the complexity of cases which is characterized by modern treatment techniques and a higher demand for patient information about the underlying disease and therapeutic options. At the same time, the restructuring of health services and reduced funding have led to the downsizing of hospital care services. These trends strongly influence the workplace environment and are a potential source of stress and burnout among professionals working in radiotherapy.

Methods and patients: A preliminary postal survey was sent to members of the workgroup “Quality of Life” which is part of DEGRO (The German Society for Radiooncology). Thus far, 12 departments have answered the survey. 309 radiotherapy workers (24% physicians, 33% radiographers, 31% nurses, 12% physicists) from 10 university hospitals and 2 general hospitals completed the FBAS form (Stress Questionnaire of Physicians and Nurses; 42 items, 7 scales), and a self-designed questionnaire regarding work situation plus one question on global job satisfaction. Furthermore, the participants could make voluntary suggestions about how to improve their situation.

Results: Based on the majority of answers, the greatest source of job stress stemmed from underpayment (2.80, S.D. +1.69), long suffering of patients (2.48, S.D. +1.36), permanent ringing of the telephone (2.48, S.D. +1.72) and the finding that “patients will be kept alive using all available resources against the conviction of staff” (2.23, S.D. +1.83). Physicians and nurses showed a significantly higher stress level on scales such as structural conditions and particularly compassion than radiographers and physicists (Table 1 [Tab. 1]). Global job satisfaction was 4.1 on a 9-point scale (from 1 - very satisfied to 9 - not satisfied). Finally, rating of job stress and satisfaction depends significantly on the age group, gender, experience and the hospital.

Conclusion: Current workplace environments have a negative impact on stress levels and the satisfaction of radiotherapy staff. Identification and removal of the above-mentioned critical points such as underpayment and unnecessary distress of patients requires various changes which should lead to the reduction of stress. The future aim of this work is to increase job satisfaction and quality of patient care.