An Examination of Student Contracts and Fulfillment Rates Among Physical Therapist Graduates From One Institution

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Many physical therapist students sign pre-employment contracts. Upon graduation, some graduates allow a second health care facility to buy out the contract, leaving a vacant position. The study objective was to examine the frequency of student employment contracts and trends in contract fulfillment among graduates from one Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy degree program over five recent graduating classes as a measure of effectiveness in recruitment. A survey instrument was mailed to all 145 graduates from five previous classes, with 80 survey instruments returned. By report, 58.8% of the graduates had signed contracts. Of those respondents, 63.8% reported that they had fulfilled their contract terms and 36.4% reported nonfulfillment. Of those graduates who had signed contracts, 31.9% reported that they underwent a contract buyout process, with “personal reasons” cited most frequently as the reason. If a fulfillment rate of nearly 64% is acceptable to a facility, then pre-employment contracts would appear to be an effective recruitment strategy targeting new graduates. The discussion may have implications for improved contract fulfillment and retention among those graduates who have signed contracts.

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