Factors affecting occupational therapists’ decision to join their regional professional association: Facteurs influençant la décision des ergothérapeutes de joindre les rangs de leur association professionnelle régionale

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Abstract

Background.

Voluntary occupational therapy organizations fill an important role. However, recruitment and retention can be problematic. Little is known about factors influencing occupational therapists to join/maintain membership in professional associations.

Purpose.

This study investigated factors influencing occupational therapists’ decision to join/remain members of their association.

Method.

An electronic survey was carried out and data were analyzed using SPSS software and manual categorization of open-ended comments.

Findings.

Two hundred and fifty-four therapists responded. Generation of new ideas, opportunities for professional development, self-improvement, maintenance of standards, improvement of the profession, and discounts on equipment/educational opportunities were significant factors in deciding to join the organization. The factors perceived as priorities varied in relation to participants’ year of graduation.

Implications.

More-customized strategies, reflecting priorities that vary during a therapist’s career path, may need to be employed to best address recruitment and retention across the range of therapists’ needs and goals.

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