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Original Research

Open Access

Fulfilled but worn out: gynecologic oncologists experience high levels of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue

  • Lia Bos1,*,
  • Megan Shen2
  • Lauren Prescott3
  • Alaina Brown3

1Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA

2Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

3Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

DOI: 10.22514/ejgo.2023.097 Vol.44,Issue 6,December 2023 pp.43-49

Submitted: 23 March 2023 Accepted: 13 April 2023

Published: 15 December 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Lia Bos E-mail:


Professional quality of life is composed of both positive (compassion satisfaction) and negative (compassion fatigue) components. The objective of this study was to evaluate the professional quality of life among gynecologic oncologists measured through compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue. An anonymous Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) survey was sent to the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) members. The survey was composed of a brief questionnaire assessing basic demographics followed by the ProQOL 5 survey, a validated scale assessing professional quality of life. This scale measures compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is measured in terms of its two components—burnout and secondary trauma. ProQOL revealed that most respondents had moderate (57%) or high compassion satisfaction (41%). However, the majority also had moderate to high levels of burnout and secondary trauma (65% and 50%, respectively). Increasing age was associated with increased compassion satisfaction (B = 0.192, p = 0.04) and lower rates of burnout (B = −0.217, p = 0.02). Those in a strictly academic practice environment were 2.13 times more likely to experience moderate or high levels of burnout (p = 0.04). Female identifying participants were 2.6 times more likely to report moderate or high secondary trauma (p = 0.02). Additionally, those with childcare plans that were altered by the COVID-19 pandemic were 5.5 times as likely to have moderate or high burnout scores (p = 0.004). In conclusion, gynecologic oncologists experience high levels of compassion satisfaction. However, they also experience a significant amount of compassion fatigue as demonstrated by the moderate to high level of burnout and secondary trauma. Sociodemographic factors such as age, gender, type of practice, and presence of parental responsibilities may place some individuals at higher risk for compassion fatigue.


Burnout; Compassion satisfaction; Compassion fatigue; Professional quality of life

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Lia Bos,Megan Shen,Lauren Prescott,Alaina Brown. Fulfilled but worn out: gynecologic oncologists experience high levels of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue. European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology. 2023. 44(6);43-49.


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