You Can Only Go Full Speed for So Long: The Career Development of Psychologists Working in Psychosocial Oncology Settings

  • Trisha L. Raque-BogdanEmail author
  • Amanda Kracen
  • Nicole E. Taylor
  • Ellen Joseph
  • Heather Engblom
  • Kaitlin Ross
  • Taylor Michl
  • Afton Nelson
  • Hannah Rowold


Cancer centers have adopted a holistic approach to cancer treatment to better meet the psychosocial needs of cancer survivors. However, the current number of psychosocial providers in oncology is inadequate to meet the growing demand and psychosocial providers may face barriers in accessing oncology-specific training. The current study aims to explore the career development of psychologists working in oncology to inform training and workplace supports, as well as to inform training for health psychologists interested in other sub-specialties. Interviews were conducted with 20 psychologists with oncology work experience. Data were analyzed using the consensual qualitative research method. Results indicated three primary domains: (a) factors influencing entry into the field, (b) factors influencing ongoing career decision-making, and (c) factors influencing success in psychosocial oncology. The complexities of these domains are discussed; suggestions for supporting psychologists interested in psychosocial oncology at individual as well as systemic levels are provided.


Psychosocial oncology Training Career development Consensual qualitative research 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors Trisha L. Raque-Bogdan, Amanda Kracen, Nicole E. Taylor, Ellen Joseph, Heather Engblom, Kaitlin Ross, Taylor Michl, Afton Nelson, Hannah Rowold declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Webster UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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