U.S. Army Medical Corps Recruitment, Job Satisfaction, and Retention: Historical Perspectives and Current Issues

W. Sanders Marble, E. Darrin Cox, Julie A. Hundertmark, Paul J. Goymerac, Clinton K. Murray, Douglas W. Soderdahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction This study was conducted to identify and understand the current factors affecting recruitment, job satisfaction, and retention of U.S. Army Medical Corps officers and provide historical background to understand if the current factors are dissimilar. Materials and Methods An anonymous, voluntary questionnaire was sent to U.S. Army Medical Corps officers, and responses were tabulated and analyzed. Historical research was conducted and historical analysis applied. Results Recruiting, job satisfaction, and retention among Army Medical Corps Officers have been problematic throughout the 50-year history of the all-volunteer force. Recruiting has largely been of medical students, with very limited numbers of direct accessions. At times, satisfactory overall numbers have camouflaged shortages in key go-to-war specialties. Also, satisfactory numbers in a specialty have sometimes camouflaged problems in depth of experience. Satisfaction has been seen as a problem but apparently only studied informally and/or episodically. Retention has largely been addressed through service obligations, followed by monetary bonuses, although these have to be across the Department of Defense, limiting service flexibility. There has never been consistent, longitudinal sampling of opinion among Medical Corps Officers to allow senior leaders to influence the Department of Defense policy. A recent (2016) study provides substantial data but should be repeated rather than being isolated. Conclusion As the situation in the Department of Defense and Army Medical Department changes, with more focus on go-to-war specialties, the Army needs to better measure opinion among Medical Corps Officers to inform policy. These studies should be conducted regularly to generate reliable information on trends and allow prioritization of effort to areas that hamper recruiting, undermine satisfaction, and prevent retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1596-E1602
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume185
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

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