Job satisfaction: What are the factors influencing satisfaction for physical health occupational therapists working in rural New Zealand?
Noble, Lucy J.
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Citation:Noble, L. J. (2021). Job satisfaction: What are the factors influencing satisfaction for physical health occupational therapists working in rural New Zealand? (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5853
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5853
BACKGROUND The purpose of this research is to assist in recognising the factors influencing satisfaction for physical health occupational therapists working in rural New Zealand. Overseas research suggests that job satisfaction plays a key role in productivity, recruitment and retention (Eklund & Hallberg, 2000; Moore, Cruikshank & Haas, 2006). The researcher was interested as to if these themes are echoed in occupational therapy in New Zealand, and specifically if there are themes directly related to rural practice. There have been a number of studies related to role satisfaction of occupational therapists globally (Bailey, 1990a; Freda, 1992; Greensmith & Blumfield, 1989; Mills & Millsteed, 2002; Moore, Cruickshank, & Haas, 2006). However, less research has been completed specific to Occupational Therapy in New Zealand. Physical health occupational therapists are important for facilitating and maintaining independence of individuals, reducing re-admission, facilitating discharge, ensuring be flow in an acute setting, and reducing further intervention in the community (Di Monaco et al., 2008). This is particularly important given that rural dwelling individuals tend to remain at home for longer, are more geographically isolated than their city dwelling counterparts (Elliot‐Schmidt & Strong, 1997; Probst & Bhavsar, 2014). There is very little research on rural Occupational Therapy practice in New Zealand. METHOD This study used quantitative and qualitative methodology, through the use of a survey gathering specific data and participant opinions. Quantitative research gives the opportunity for a large amount of data to be collected, whilst qualitative components facilitate the opportunity to develop a more detailed narrative. Therefore, components of both methods were utilised, to gather both breadth and depth of information. An online survey was designed and implemented to provide breadth of information to ensure a snapshot of the current professional climate, without the limitation of geographical barriers, whilst also allowing for a larger participant population, thus facilitating a larger body of data. This survey was kindly distributed by the OTBNZ to all New Zealand OTs who identified they were willing to participate in research. 60 therapists commenced the survey, and 32 were eligible/ elected to complete it in full. Data was analysed using the Qualtrics data analysis, where it was exported to identify themes of research. FINDINGS Length of time in a position, access to professional development, hours worked, and salary were all identified as significant factors in influencing the satisfaction of rural occupational therapists. The perception of satisfaction and impacting factors is likely to be different between therapists. Where one therapist may enjoy the rural travel component, another may find this is the least satisfying aspect of their role. It is likely that these factors change over time with experiences, service dynamics, and the progression of the profession. The research also raised important questions about the identity of rural practitioners and how they are identified.
Keywords:New Zealand, rural, occupational therapists, job satisfaction, occupational therapy
ANZSRC Field of Research:420104 Occupational therapy, 350507 Workplace wellbeing and quality of working life, 441003 Rural sociology
Degree:Master of Occupational Therapy, Otago Polytechnic
Supervisors:Griffiths, Sian; Simon, Leadley
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