The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand the experiences of oncology support staff through an examination of workplace organization, patient and team relationships, and emotional impact. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven medical secretaries and five nursing unit clerks. A critical-interpretive feminist lens is adopted to facilitate focus on subjective perceptions and meanings of these work experiences. This approach allows exploration of how social identities in particular workplace settings are shaped by gender, social class, ethnocultural background, age, sex, (dis) ability, and geography. It also directs our attention to dominant discourses and inequities in the workplace that render women’s work invisible and undervalued. Indeed, key findings identify issues of powerlessness, lack of control and decision-making, self-reported stress and burnout, and the perception that the work performed is not recognized or valued. Implications for managers and those working with support staff in oncology settings are briefly highlighted.
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Thesis advisor: Mitchell, Barbara
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