Complementary therapists' motivation to work in cancer/supportive and palliative care: A multi-centre case study

Mackereth Peter, Carter Ann, Parkin Sam, Stringer Jacqui, Roberts Dai, Long Andrew, Todd Chris, Caress Ann

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To uncover complementary therapists' motivation to work in cancer/supportive and palliative care. Method: The study employed a multiple case-study design, involving three cancer/supportive and palliative care settings in the North West of England. A questionnaire survey (n = 51) was undertaken, followed by semi-structured interviews with a subgroup of the sample (n = 28). Results: Participants had a mean age of 50 years, were predominantly female and had varied career backgrounds, including prior professional experience in healthcare, teaching and private complementary therapy practice. Motivation for working in cancer/supportive and palliative care included vocational drive with a desire to provide individualised treatment and adopt a person centred, empowering and caring approach; disillusionment with conventional care; career development and personal experience of cancer or other serious illness. Conclusion: Findings indicated that motivational factors for therapists working in cancer care/supportive and palliative care were varied and highlighted a combination of 'push and pull' factors, particularly for therapists who are also health care practitioners. Further research related to volunteering, sustainable services and support and training for therapists is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-165
Number of pages5
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Early online date11 Apr 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


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