Clinical Work Intensity Among Medical Oncologists Practicing in National Community Oncology Research Program Community Sites

Matthew F. Hudson, Mark A. O'Rourke, Dawn W. Blackhurst, Jennifer Caldwell, Ronnie D. Horner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: This study (1) assesses the level of clinical work intensity medical oncologists and oncologic nurse practitioners experience providing care and (2) identifies patient, provider, and practice factors mediating intensity. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventeen medical oncologists (12 physicians and five nurse practitioners) from five national sites national reported on the level of work intensity associated with 339 patient visits. Data collection at each site occurred over a 2- to 6 week period; for each provider, five visits were randomly selected from each of 4 randomly selected clinic days, yielding 20 visits per provider. Intensity was measured by the NASA-Task Load Index. Patient and visit characteristics were abstracted from the medical record; provider characteristics were self-reported by questionnaire. RESULTS: Clinical work intensity increased monotonically with level of service and was greatest when the visit involved discussion of either chemotherapy or terminal prognosis. Provider characteristics (including age, sex, and years of experience) were unrelated to intensity. Dimensions of work intensity that correlated directly with level of service included mental, physical, and temporal demand; effort; frustration; and stress. Perceptions of performance and of satisfaction with the visit were unrelated to level of service. Visits related to chemotherapy had greater mental, physical, and temporal demand, and effort, but worse perception of performance. When the visit involved a discussion of a terminal prognosis, greater intensity was reflected in all dimensions; stress was also greater, whereas visit satisfaction was significantly lower. CONCLUSION: Clinical work intensity increases with level of service provided and is greater for visits involving discussion of either terminal prognosis or chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e870-e877
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical Work Intensity Among Medical Oncologists Practicing in National Community Oncology Research Program Community Sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this