Working together to promote team resilience in the Québec Cancer network: A pilot study


the Challenge

Developing resilience across the workforce

the Engagement

 Intervention aimed at team resilience

the outcome

Learnings will be embedded into every day practices

The Challenge

Members of interprofessional cancer care teams face difficult situations at work on a daily basis. Some are clinical, such as delivering bad news about a diagnosis or disease progression, dealing with the diversity of treatments and clinical trials, or keeping up with new knowledge. Others are organisational, such as dealing with the multiple interests and objectives of fellow professionals, administrative burdens, high rates of absenteeism or turnover, etc. Challenges related to COVID-19 add to their day-to-day struggle. These providers are thus especially susceptible to compassion fatigue, burnout and stress, with important consequences for health, wellbeing and team functioning.

It is crucial that action be taken to protect the health and welfare of cancer team members in order to prevent negative effects on the quality and safety of care. We look to resilience as a dynamic process of facing, recovering from and adapting to situations of adversity in the workplace and protecting team members from the negative effects of stressors. Resilience figures among ministerial priorities as a potential strategy for contributing to the wellbeing of interprofessional team members, to prevent a loss of meaning and exhaustion from the challenges in the cancer care context. Canadian medical establishments have also focused on resilience as a competency to develop among individuals and teams to face adversity.



The engagement

The goal of this pilot project is to examine the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention aimed at accompanying team resilience in the Quebec Cancer Network (the project acronym, ARÉS-RCQ, refers to its French language title: l’Accompagnement à la Résilience d’ÉquipeS dans le Réseau de Cancérologie du Québec). Objectives are 1) to develop the components, tools and approaches of the ARES-RCQ intervention to help cancer care team members better face difficult situations; and 2) evaluate team members’ perceptions of the intervention.

More specifically, the pilot study aims to:

  1. Develop and pre-test a research vignette to structure data collection in focus groups on individual and collective resources and management strategies for resilience at work in difficult circumstances.
  2. Develop and pre-test an approach inspired by photovoice research methods to structure and collect data in focus groups on individual and collective needs for support in developing resilience.
  3. Adapt a French-language questionnaire to the culture of cancer care in Quebec to explore team resilience at work.
  4. Evaluate participants’ perceptions of the possible usefulness and feasibility of components of the ARES-RCQ intervention with cancer care teams.

The Impact

The study will enable co-development of the ARES-RCQ intervention, help assess the difficulties involved in evaluating the intervention, strengthen its scientific value and help prepare for implementation. It is plausible that key informants will derive benefits in terms of individual and team resilience, clinical practice and organisation (for example increasing mutual support within the team; addressing feelings of isolation; improving communication skills, teamwork, the quality of the therapeutic relationship; improving emotional awareness, self-effectiveness and confidence in adverse situations; and identifying opportunities to develop resilience). The study will contribute badly needed knowledge on team resilience at work in the cancer care context. While it is conducted in Québec, the pilot study may inspire research in other advanced countries.


Dominique Tremblay, RN, PhD

Full Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke;

Senior Grant holder, FRQS






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