An investigation of factors impacting on the retention of radiographers in KwaZulu-Natal
Thambura, Muchui Julius
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction The staffing crisis in the healthcare profession is an issue of global concern and South Africa is amongst the countries affected. Radiography is one of the professions in allied healthcare, that is affected. The statistics from the Department of Health (DoH) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), as at August 2013, indicate a marked decrease in the number of radiographers between 2008 and 2012. Private practice statistics were unavailable as these are confidential. Purpose of the study This study aimed to investigate the factors impacting on the retention of radiographers in KZN, in order to obtain information that may assist the DoH to improve their retention policies. The objectives of the study were to investigate: the reasons why KZN radiographers resign from their places of employment; the reasons why KZN radiographers choose to remain in their place of employment; and the factors that impact on job satisfaction. It was also the intention of this study to identify possible input that may contribute to the retention of KZN radiographers. Methodology This research was conducted in 11 districts of KZN, South Africa. Radiographers in all categories of radiography who had worked in KZN and then left the profession, those who had emigrated, as well as those who were working in KZN were targeted in an attempt to obtain a wide range of data related to the objectives. A quantitative, descriptive survey, using a cross-sectional design, was used. A stratified non-random sampling method was used to select the public and private hospitals from which data was collected. The target sample size was estimated at 300 radiographers from all four categories in both public and private hospitals, however the researcher obtained only 191 participants. The population size of KZN radiographers was 859; a sample size of 266 was required at the 95% confidence level. However, with the high attrition rate, the sample of 191 was more than adequate for the available number of respondents and was considered to be statistically acceptable by the statistician. The response rate was 191, of which 20 responses were received from the 29 emigrants contacted, and 16 responses from the 19 participants who had left the profession. Three questionnaires were used to target the three categories of the respondents. Results of the study The results of this research indicate that radiographers emigrated within ten years of graduating, which is a highly productive age. The workload was the main cause of resignation for four (66,7 percent) emigrants as well as five (31,3 percent) radiographers who had left the profession. Private hospitals were reported as having lower workloads, better facilities and greater financial rewards than public hospitals. Increased remuneration influenced the migration of radiographers from public to private practices. It was also noted that six (37,5 percent) participants reported the crime rate as being one of the three main factors contributing to emigration, while two (12,5 percent) highlighted poor financial reward in KZN. The third main factor was stated to be better prospects for professional advancement abroad. A lack of professional recognition and progression in radiography in KZN was identified by two (12,5 percent) participants as factors that impacted on job satisfaction. Conclusion and Recommendation This research study is of significance to the DoH and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as the results may be used to assist them in improving the level of retention of radiographers in KZN. The creation of opportunities for professional development, advancement and diversification of the scope of practice for radiographers, as well as role extension and expansion, were factors identified as being important in the retention of radiographers. The working conditions were found to be generally unsatisfactory and needing improvement. It is suggested that retention could be improved through the development of strategies such as introduction of flexible schedules, creation of opportunities for further training and education. It is further suggested that a similar type of study be conducted in other provinces so as to compare the retention challenges facing other provinces in South Africa and thereby gain a national overview.