Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Doherty, Alison


Volunteering as a medical practitioner at a multi-sport major games (MSMG) is a career highlight for many, but its benefits and costs have not been thoroughly explored. Framed by Social Exchange Theory, this study aims to address this gap by examining the experiences of medical volunteers at a recent MSMG. An online anonymous survey, based on Doherty’s (2009) study of Jeux du Canada Games volunteers, was completed by 78 Canadian medical practitioners who had volunteered at a MSMG in the previous six years. The study revealed that professional identification and networking were the greatest benefits experienced by medical volunteers, while personal inconveniences to their family, work, or vacation time were the greatest costs. Interestingly, the medical volunteers valued professional gains more than social enrichment or contributing to the event. The findings offer valuable insights into the factors that drive medical practitioners to engage in future volunteerism at MSMG.

Summary for Lay Audience

The purpose of this study was to gain a further understanding of the unique group that is medical volunteers at a multi-sport major games (MSMG). Their role is to provide injury and illness assessment and management along with on field emergency care to each participating athlete. Without them, MSMG cannot happen. Canadian medical practitioners who have volunteered at a MSMG between 2017 and 2022 were surveyed about their most recent MSMG experience. Through an anonymous online survey, they were asked to report on their experienced benefits and costs, and what aspects of the experience they were most satisfied with. A number of statistical analyses were used to determine what aspects of their experienced benefits, costs, and satisfaction impacted their overall satisfaction and their intent to volunteer again for another MSMG hosted in their community, their province/territory, or anywhere in Canada. The analyses identified professional identification as the greatest experienced benefit and personal inconvenience as the greatest cost experienced by the medical volunteers. They reported being most satisfied with the daily organization of their volunteering (scheduling, logistics, resources, comfort, etc.). Professional development and unreasonable expectations were the most impactful to the medical volunteers’ overall satisfaction. Finally, the benefit of professional development and satisfaction with volunteer management (parking/transportation, food services, and volunteer recognition) at their most recent MSMG were significant factors in their intent to volunteer for another MSMG hosted in their community and province/territory. Both these factors also contributed to their intent to volunteer for another MSMG anywhere in Canada, along with their experienced satisfaction with the volunteer context (their assigned venue, sport, and volunteer team). The study findings have implications for recruiting medical volunteers for MSMG and ensuring they have a positive experience there with benefits outweighing the costs of being involved.