UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Team-based approaches to psychosocial oncology care Magtoto, Joanne


Background: While the health system in Canada recognizes the need for comprehensive cancer care, barriers must be overcome to achieve this goal. One is improving how professionals work together. This study explores social workers’ and counsellors’ experiences offering psychosocial cancer care as part of a cancer system that prioritizes medically related cancer care. My study objective is to increase understanding on how the health care system can better support team-based approaches in providing psychosocial cancer care for families faced with cancer. Methods: I explored, through a generic qualitative research methodology, the experiences of eight social workers or counsellors who utilize team-based approaches in psychosocial cancer care. Using a semi-structured interview approach, I asked each participant to describe their experiences with team-based approaches in cancer care. Findings: Findings are presented using the ecological systems perspective, with the themes representing micro, mezzo, and macro level facilitators and barriers to psychosocial cancer care within a team-based approach. The overarching theme identified by participants was the need for building authentic and close working relationships with their colleagues. At a micro level, relationships between cancer care providers was identified as an asset when working in an oncology setting facing larger system influences that detract from offering psychosocial cancer care. Within this overarching theme participants described the following mezzo and macro factors in facilitating or detracting from team-based approaches in offering psychosocial care: flexible infrastructure and resources, space, staff availability, medical dominance, and limited time and resources. Implications: Exploring team-based approaches in psychosocial cancer care is understudied in oncology and health system research. This study may fill some of this knowledge gap, specifically by highlighting the need for authentic and close relationships with colleagues especially in times of high and demanding workloads within an emotionally fatiguing work environment such as oncology. The participants’ experiences mirror the challenges identified in psychosocial oncology in Canada and future research may expand this study by developing theoretical frameworks for team-based approaches within a psychosocial oncology context, and by translating theory into cancer care practice that addresses the needs of mind, body, and soul.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada