Perceptions of Important Retention and Recruitment Factors by Therapists in Northwestern Ontario
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Recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural and remote communities are well-known challenges. Although the literature states that lifestyle factors and being from a rural background influence recruitment and retention, much of the research is dated and of limited relevance to rehabilitation professionals. This study reports on a survey of physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) in northwestern Ontario. Seventy-four percent of the OTs and PTs from this geographically isolated region of Canada responded to a mail survey examining factors that influenced their job recruitment and retention decisions. Availability of leisure and recreation activities, proximity of family of origin, need for OTs and PTs and influence of spouse or partner frequently contributed to recruitment decisions and were also important in retention decisions. Although professional autonomy was an important source of job satisfaction for the respondents, almost one-third reported a feeling of professional isolation. Professional development initiatives appeared to influence job satisfaction but were unlikely to influence working life decisions. The findings suggest that recruitment and retention strategies should be multifaceted to reflect the complexity of therapists' decision-making.
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