Factors influencing intent to stay in physical therapy faculty

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Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to identify the factors that influence intent to stay in program directors and faculty working in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs across the United States and to explore how these educators perceive job satisfaction and how commitment to the organization may influence their intent to stay. Procedure: Online surveys were emailed to all 264 DPT program directors across the United States. Program directors completed the survey and forwarded the survey to all faculty in their respective program(s). Following the survey, 20 anonymous interviews (10 program directors, 10 faculty) were completed over Zoom. Results: Two hundred forty-four responses were received with 236 respondents (Mean age = 50.04 ± 9.54 yrs.; Males = 63, Females = 173; program directors = 55, faculty = 180) being included in analysis. Multiple regression was run to determine the contribution of autonomy, workload, communication openness, job opportunity, job satisfaction, distributive justice, organizational commitment, role conflict, and kinship responsibilities to intent to stay. The multiple regression model significantly predicted intent to stay for all participants, F(9,211) = 12.43, p<.001; adj. R²=.32. Commitment to the organization was the greatest predictor of intent to stay, β=.61, t(.622) = 5.05, p<.01, meaning increased commitment to the organization leads to increased intent to stay. Out of the demographic data, age and tenure status had a small significant relationship to intent to stay respectively, r= -.196 and r= .217, p=<.01. Three large themes with six sub-themes emerged from the interviews: the impact of leadership, making a commitment and sticking to it, and finally, the Covid crisis.
Conclusions: This is the first study to examine the reasons DPT educators stay in their current job roles. Since these nine variables only represented 32% of the intent to stay model, further research needs to continue to identify additional factors that may contribute to the model. University administrators can use the results of this study to increase DPT educators’ intent to stay by improving lines of communication, managing workloads, controlling workplace conflict, and fostering positive relationships among students and faculty to build commitment to the program.

Faculty, Physical therapy, Intent to stay, Retention, Attrition