School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Kimberly Brown


Burnout, Coping, Oncology, Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy, Stress


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education | Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Education


This study aimed to better understand and describe the lived experiences of job-related stressors and associated coping mechanisms of radiation therapists (RTTs). The study employed a phenomenological qualitative method as to explore the experiences of 11 radiation therapists in select regional cancer centers in the Southeastern United States. The following questions were explored: (a) How do radiation therapists describe job-related stress? (b) What factors do radiation therapists identify as contributing to job-related stress? (c) What mechanisms do radiation therapists employ to cope with job-related stress they described? and (d) How do radiation therapists find motivation to continue in their chosen field in light of job-related stress? The data collection process included individual interviews, online focus groups, and personal journaling by the participants, whom were chosen through purposeful sampling. Data analysis was conducted via a hermeneutic interpretive approach following a systematic analytical guide as detailed by previous qualitative researchers. Findings suggested that the radiation therapists experience substantial stress in their work situations, which they most often attributed to uncontrollable situations, and they struggled with methods of coping, likely choosing to work through stressful situations in lieu of coping. The radiation therapists found intense motivation in their relationships with their patients, crediting them with the reasons for continuation in their careers.