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“A small cog in a large wheel”: an exploratory study into the experiences of porters, ward clerks and domestics working in an English Cancer Centre

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2003
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)153-161
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The effect of working in an oncology environment on nurses has been widely researched but the experiences of non-clinical staff such as ancillary workers in the oncology environment have rarely been examined. This exploratory study had three aims: to explore ancillary workers’ understandings of cancer, their experiences of working in a Cancer Centre and their training and support needs. Working within a naturalistic paradigm, a descriptive exploratory design was utilised employing in-depth interviews and drawing on aspects of grounded theory for data analysis. Findings indicated that these ancillary workers lacked an in-depth understanding of cancer. The experience of working in a Cancer Centre appeared to bring both costs and benefits to these ancillary workers. These ancillary workers enjoyed the level of contact they have with patients in a Cancer Centre and subsequently ascribed great value to their jobs. However, they felt that health-care professional colleagues did not always value their contribution to the care of patients. There are implications for nurses and other health-care staff working in oncology alongside these ancillary staff in terms of valuing and supporting them in the work that they do.