Factors affecting recruitment and retention of rehabilitation professionals in Northern Ontario, Canada: a cross-sectional study
Citation: Winn CS, Chisholm BA, Hummelbrunner JA. Factors affecting recruitment and retention of rehabilitation professionals in Northern Ontario, Canada: a cross-sectional study. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2014; 14: 2619. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=2619 (Accessed 22 October 2017)
Introduction: Historically, Northern Ontario, Canada, has been an underserviced area for health care, including the rehabilitation professions of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech–language pathology and audiology. The Rehabilitation Studies and Northern Studies Stream programs were created in the 1990s to improve the recruitment and retention of rehabilitation professionals to Northern Ontario. However, no recent research has been conducted examining the factors that lead to rehabilitation professionals relocating to and remaining in the region.Key words: audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, recruitment, rehabilitation, retention, speech–language pathology.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of rehabilitation professionals living and working in Northern Ontario was administered in 2009. Information collected included demographics and a rating of the personal and professional factors that had an impact on an individual’s decision to continue living and working in Northern Ontario.
Results: A total of 345 individuals completed the survey (response rate 57%). Multiple personal and professional factors were closely linked to recruitment and retention with differences noted between those individuals originally from Northern Ontario and those who were not. Rural or remote education experiences and rural/remote origin were identified as important recruitment factors while job satisfaction and lifestyle options were important factors for retention of rehabilitation professionals to rural and remote areas of practice.
Conclusions: This study has provided updated information specific to the recruitment and retention of rehabilitation professionals in Northern Ontario, Canada. These findings support previous work examining health professions worldwide and have clear implications for educational programs, funding agencies, and health human resource planning in underserviced areas.
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