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Title: Factors influencing success and failure in newly-qualified occupational therapists entry into practice.
Author: Rugg, Susan Ann.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 1997
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There is a long-standing shortage of occupational therapists (OT's) in the United Kingdom. Commentators suggest that this is partly due to the withdrawal of qualified practitioners, but the contribution to this situation of such therapists' withdrawal early in their career seems to have been largely ignored to date. This study explored junior occupational therapists' withdrawal from practice, within one year of qualification and their likelihood of withdrawing within the following year. The focus was on the early work experience of 206 newly-qualified British occupational therapists. It investigated the potential influence of a number of independent variables which have been associated with the retention, turnover and attrition of other health care workers. These included workers' age, gender, occupational stress and trait anxiety levels, as well as a discrepancy between their expected and actual practice. The study was longitudinal in nature collecting data from respondents both before, and one year' after, qualification. A range of purpose-designed questionnaires and a semi-structured interview were used. A variety of factors were found to be of influence. Respondents' retention in practice was linked to issues of support, resources, success with clients, job satisfaction, the desire to make use of and increase their skills and the extent to which work matched their personal values. Their likelihood of leaving practice within two years of qualification was associated with both their level of occupational stress, and a perception that practice had failed to meet their expectations. Respondents' tumover level was linked to issues of support, autonomy, respondents' desire to increase their skills, and a perceived discrepancy between their expected and actual practice. Finally, attrition was linked to this same discrepancy, as well as to issues of support, autonomy, respondents' health, job dissatisfaction, level of responsibility and unmet expectations of practice. Those who left practice also noted longstanding uncertainty about the wisdom and permanence of occupational therapy as a career. These results provided both fuel for discussion and the opportunity to make recommendations for future occupational therapy policy, education and practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Health services & community care services Medical care Education