Retention: The Decision Making Process

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thomas Ray Coe, PhD, MS, NEA-BC, MHA, FACHE
U S Army Nurse Corps, Womack Army Medical Center, Ft Bragg, NC

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify four components of job satisfaction that influence the employee retention decision.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe two or more factors of each component and how these factors can influence the employee retention decision.

Retention – The Decision Making Process The retention of healthcare personnel, especially in the profession of nursing, continues to remain a critical issue.  The ability to adequately and safely staff healthcare facilities to provide inpatient and outpatient care and emergency services is dependent on maintaining a well trained and experienced professional and paraprofessional workforce.  This issue is of particular importance to the enlisted members of United States Army Medical Department (AMEDD) and the United States Army Nurse Corps.  This qualitative descriptive research study identified many topics influencing the retention of enlisted personnel in the AMEDD. 
The work environment, economic factors, personal and professional issues were identified as strongly influencing decisions regarding retention or reenlistment.  The findings of this study indicate that the decision to reenlist was often made as a result of the individual’s perceptions and evaluation of the importance and interactions of the topics.  Additionally, this study identified that retention can also include the possibility of staff returning to a previous employer.  The development of a better understanding of the topics identified and described as important when making the decision to reenlist supports the need for leadership development programs in healthcare organizations such as the AMEDD.  The support of leadership in regard to the work environment and job satisfaction is crucial to the identification and development of evidence based unit management programs as well as unit and facility incentives to improve staff retention.