Abstract

Objectives. Occupational therapy directors need to recruit and retain therapists to ensure both the delivery of high-quality services and the viability of their departments. At present, research on the recruitment and retention of occupational therapists is limited; recruitment and retention strategies can be cited, but their utility and effectiveness have not been determined.

Method. A survey was designed to identify the recruitment and retention strategies used in various practice settings and the perceived level of effectiveness of those strategies that were used. The surveys were mailed to 500 occupational therapy directors. Once the sample size was adjusted to exclude non-eligible subjects, the eligible sample size was 471. Of these, 320 (68%) were usable.

Results. Ten of the 23 recruitment strategies listed on the survey were used by more than 70% of the respondents. The top three recruitment strategies were staff member referrals, professional development opportunities, and newspaper advertisements. Seventeen of the 23 retention strategies listed on the survey were used by more than 70% of the respondents. The top three retention strategies were interpersonal staff member relationships, employee appraisals, and continuing education.

Conclusion. Findings suggest that occupational therapy departments’ recruitment and retention plans could be improved by expanding the number of strategies used and by incorporating techniques that appeal to a broader range of therapists.

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