The Work Experience Survey: An on-the-job needs assessment tool to promote successful career outcomes for young adult central nervous system cancer survivors

David R. Strauser, Stuart P. Rumrill, Phillip D. Rumrill, Chelsea E. Greco, Stacia Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Four employed young adults who survived brain cancer participated in an evaluation of barriers to their continued employment and career development. METHOD: A trained interviewer completed the Work Experience Survey (WES) in teleconsultation sessions with each participant to identify his or her: (a) barriers to worksite accessibility, (b) difficulties performing essential functions of his or her job, (c) concerns regarding job mastery, and (d) extent of job satisfaction. RESULTS: Resulting largely from the medical and psychosocial sequelae of their illnesses (especially cognitive and mobility impairments), participants reported a wide range of difficulties in performing essential functions of their jobs (5 to 19) that have the potential to significantly affect their productivity. Job mastery problems reflected outcomes associated with cancer such as 'believing that others think I do a good job' and 'having the resources (e.g., knowledge, tools, supplies, and equipment) needed to do the job.' Other job mastery concerns reflected idiosyncratic aspects of a specific job setting such as 'being able to speak with my supervisor about promotion.' CONCLUSIONS: Although all four participants expressed a strong desire to continue and advance in their careers, they reported significant barriers to job satisfaction that must be addressed in order for that to happen. The interviewer concluded the WES interview by recommending a job accommodation plan, which included suggestions from Job Accommodation Network (JAN) consultants. IMPLICATIONS: The WES can be used in psychosocial treatment planning to offer guidelines for young adult CNS survivors to follow in requesting job modifications and assistive technology to improve career development and employment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-135
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was partly funded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy in the amount of $2.5 million under Cooperative Agreement No. OD-32548-18-75-4-21. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Work Experience Survey
  • brain cancer
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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