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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Linking Occupational Commitment to Retention: Evidence From Laboratorians

Burton W. Wilcke, PhD, Department of Medical Laboratory & Radiation Sciences, University of Vermont, Rowell 302, Burlington, VT 05405, 802.656.3811, burton.wilcke@uvm.edu, Barbara McIntosh, PhD, School of Business Administration, University of Vermont, Kalkin Hall 318, Burlington, VT 05405, MaryVal Palumbo, DNP, APN, RN, Office of Nursing Workforce, University of Vermont, Rowell 202, Burlington, VT 05405, and Betty Rambur, DNSc, RN, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Vermont, Rowell 105, Burlington, VT 05405.

Understanding occupational commitment in relation to organizational turnover is becoming increasingly important given pending labor shortages in the health care professions (BLS, 2003). Klipp(2000) notes that “both BLS and NAACLS indicate that the demand for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians will far exceed the supply of new workers in coming years.” Because of their contribution to disease surveillance, medical laboratorians have been identified as a critical part of our public health infrastructure. Previous studies on laboratorian retention have focused primarily upon salaries (Ward-Cook & Tannar, 2000; Ward-Cook, Chapman, & Tannar, 2002) and job satisfaction (Harmening, Castleberry, & Lunz, 1994) as factors contributing to turnover. This research uses survey data collected from laboratorians throughout the state of Vermont in March 2005 (N=241; response rate 51%) to examine the three component model measuring occupational commitment (Myer &Allen, 1991; Myer, Allen and Smith, 1993) as a retention tool. Significant determinants of affective commitment or attachment to the profession include income, education level, years worked and job satisfaction.(R˛ =.43), Determinants of continuance commitment, or the perceived cost associated with leaving, include enrollment in continuing education, years worked, and intention to leave (R˛=.17) Finally, normative commitment, the perceived obligation to remain, is predicted only by job satisfaction (R˛=.10). By strengthening the commitment of aging laboratorians ( The average age of the respondents was 45 and 76% are 40 years of age and older), managers can retain them beyond the “normal” retirement age. Specifically, managers need to keep addressing continuing education coupled with job satisfaction.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Management, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Advances in Health Workforce Research

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA