Article Title

Role ambiguity, role conflict or burnout: Are these areas of concern for Australian palliative care volunteers?


Objective: To determine whether burnout, role ambiguity, or conflict affects Australian hospice volunteers.

Method: Hospice volunteers (n = 120) were invited to participate in this pilot survey. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, while the free-text responses were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Guidelines have been used to report this data.

Results: A total of 97 participants completed the survey. The majority were middle-aged women who had been palliative care volunteers for more than 7 years and volunteered 14 hours/week (median). Participants reported low levels of role ambiguity (x = 8.4, standard deviation [SD] ±3.0) and conflict (x = 9.8, SD ±3.4) and described enjoying their volunteering and having no symptoms of burnout (76%).

Significance: Active hospice volunteers report low levels of role ambiguity, conflict, and burnout. Adopting a range of self-care strategies and working within a structured volunteer program appear to be important protective factors.


volunteer, palliative care, role conflict, role ambiguity, burnout, interdisciplinary team

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