Six months in: COVID-19 and its impact on oncology social work practice

Brad Zebrack, Michael Grignon, Ting Guan, Donna Long, Nina Miller, Krista Nelson, Shirley Otis-Green, Makeeta Rayton, Tara Schapmire, Lori Wiener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The extent to which oncology social workers (OSWs) are available and adapting to disruptions in service delivery throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown. Objectives: The purpose of this report is to outline the initial impact of COVID-19 on oncology social work practice during the first six months of the pandemic. Methods: As part of a nationwide investigation of workforce conditions for OSWs, three professional organizations surveyed their members to assess the effects of COVID-19 on changes to work hours, employment status, work setting, pay, and mode for patient contact (e.g., telephone or videoconference). Findings: Among 939 OSWs, 20% reported a reduction in work hours, and two-thirds indicated a temporary shift in work to home, with most patient contact occurring primarily via telephone or videoconference. Implications: Results speak to the essential nature of oncology social work and the need for evidence to inform OSW training and advocacy efforts for however long the pandemic continues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychosocial
  • advocacy
  • health services
  • patient experience
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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