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3. Understand job demands

Ms. Maureen Parkinson, Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor, M.Ed. C.C.R.C, BC Cancer

Ms. Maureen Parkinson is the province-wide vocational rehabilitation counsellor at the BC Cancer Agency. She has also been vocational rehabilitation counsellor at a public rehabilitation hospital and vocational rehabilitation consultant to insurance companies and the court system. She has instructed and facilitated Service-Canada-funded programs on job searching and career exploration. Ms. Parkinson has a Masters in Counselling Psychology, is a Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor, and completed the Certified Return to Work Coordinator Program through the National Institute for Disability Management and Research. She has developed return-to-work and job-search seminars for cancer patients and created the guidebook “Cancer and Returning to Work: A Practical Guide for Cancer Patients” as well as on-line articles about returning to work and school. She also co-authored a paper commissioned by the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, “Cancer and Work: A Canadian Perspective”.

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Dr. Christine Maheu, RN, PhD

Dr. Christine Maheu is an Associate Professor in the Ingram School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. Dr. Maheu is also an Affiliate Scientist at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. At McGill University, she teaches research methods, supervises graduate students (masters, doctoral, post-doctoral), mentors practicing nurses and students in research, and conducts research in English and French. She has held research awards with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. These awards funded her research in psychosocial oncology, which focuses on developing and testing psychosocial interventions or measurements tools for various cancer populations. Additionally, in partnership with Ipsos Canada and funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, she is co-leading a nationwide survey of the needs of cancer patients for transition care from the end of their treatment to three years after their diagnosis. Dr. Maheu received awards for excellence in nursing research (2013, 2015, 2016) from Ovarian Cancer Canada, the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, and the Quebec Association of Nurses in Oncology.

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Step 3 of 10 in getting ready to return to work:

Not all jobs with similar titles are the same, as the duties can vary depending on the workplace. Part of assessing the cancer survivor’s functional abilities for working is to compare them to the demands of their job. Doing so will enable you and the survivor to identify any challenges they may face if they stay at or return to work and inform the return to work plan. For more information see Assessing job demands.

In addition to asking the cancer survivor to describe their job’s demands, obtaining a job analysis from the employer may be even more helpful. The employer’s detailed job analysis outlines their expectations for the work and can clarify the essential and non-essential duties of the job. If a detailed job analysis is not readily available from the employer, the employer could complete the Cancer and Work Job Analysis for Employers. Alternatively, the cancer survivor or a health care provider with the survivor can complete the Cancer and Work Job Analysis for Cancer Survivors. As well, specialists such as occupational therapists can provide a job analysis and make recommendations for accommodations. The analysis allows the cancer survivor to reflect realistically on what their work entails, gives them and the healthcare provider an understanding of which expectations the cancer survivor can or cannot fulfill, and helps identify physical, cognitive, and psychological abilities that need to be addressed. The end result is a framework to guide a discussion on the next steps.

Next step:

Step 4: Identify, treat, and refer to support

Back to the list of return to work preparation steps