COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the well-being and job performance of oncology professionals globally. The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Resilience Task Force collaboration set out to investigate and monitor well-being since COVID-19 in relation to work, lifestyle and support factors in oncology professionals 1 year on since the start of the pandemic.
An online, anonymous survey was conducted in February/March 2021 (Survey III). Key outcome variables included risk of poor well-being or distress (expanded Well-Being Index), feeling burnout (single item from expanded Well-Being Index), and job performance since COVID-19. Longitudinal analysis of responses to the series of three surveys since COVID-19 was carried out, and responses to job demands and resources questions were interrogated. SPSS V.26.0/V.27.0 and GraphPad Prism V9.0 were used for statistical analyses.
Responses from 1269 participants from 104 countries were analysed in Survey III: 55% (n = 699/1269) female, 54% (n = 686/1269) >40 years, and 69% (n = 852/1230) of white ethnicity. There continues to be an increased risk of poor well-being or distress (n = 464/1169, 40%) and feeling burnout (n = 660/1169, 57%) compared with Survey I (25% and 38% respectively, P < 0.0001), despite improved job performance. Compared with the initial period of the pandemic, more participants report feeling overwhelmed with workload (45% versus 29%, P < 0.0001). There remain concerns about the negative impact of the pandemic on career development/training (43%), job security (37%). and international fellowship opportunities (76%). Alarmingly, 25% (n = 266/1086) are considering changing their future career with 38% (n = 100/266) contemplating leaving the profession.
Oncology professionals continue to face increased job demands. There is now significant concern regarding potential attrition in the oncology workforce. National and international stakeholders must act immediately and work closely with oncology professionals to draw up future-proof recovery plans.