1. Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi, 00144 Rome, Italy
2. Scientific Direction, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi 53, 00144 Rome, Italy
3. Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Azienda Ospedaliera Sant'Andrea, 00189 Rome, Italy
The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has challenged hard the national health system worldwide. At any level, the role of health care providers has been rapidly revisited and eventually modified to face the pandemic. The search of the balance between the provision of the most appropriate health-related services and safety of both patients and health care providers has become an indisputable necessity. The consequently increased work load, along with a widespread feeling of intellectual isolation, emotional overload, sense of inadequacy for involvement in tasks and disciplines which are not always familiar have all been proposed as factors related to the onset and/or worsening of the burnout phenomenon. This latter is sadly renown among care givers and is particularly common among medical oncologists. We herein share our perspectives on the burnout phenomenon over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on medical oncologists. Results from the most recent and inherent studies are presented and commented in light of hints provided by the experience matured by a quite restricted, still potentially representative, number of professionals figures from the medical oncologists' category. Reasons are proposed to explain the sense of inadequacy currently perceived in relation to the limits imposed by the current pandemic. In more detail, we illustrate the nature and extents of some of the most relevant difficulties in the optimal management of cancer patients and constant efforts towards the scientific upgrade which allows for the improvement of the professional performance. The need for a deeper understanding of the roots and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of medical oncologists is finally stressed.
Keywords: Medical oncologists, burnout, Covid-19, cancer.