Should I Stay or Should I Go? Air Force Pharmacist Retention at the First Decision Point: Factors and Fixes
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The Air Force has a critical shortage of pharmacists, largely due to inadequate pharmacist retention at the first decision point FDP. The factors influencing a pharmacists decision to stay in or separate from the Air Force at the FDP must be discovered and applied to retention programs. A customized interview was designed to assess the influence of various factors on retention decisions. This interview was conducted via telephone in December 2008 and January 2009 with pharmacists within 18 months of their FDP. Existing pharmacist retention programs were then analyzed for their ability to impact the identified decision factors. Thirty of 33 eligible pharmacists were interviewed, a 90 response rate. Patriotism, retirement benefits, and the level of pharmacy technician competence were the strongest influences for pharmacists at the FDP to stay in the Air Force. The availability of comparable civilian jobs, base pay, family issues, and mentorship were the strongest influences for pharmacists to leave. Based on these findings, the Air Force should continue the following retention programs pharmacist special pay, board certification pay, and Air Force Institute of Technology AFIT short courses. Loan repayment and AFIT degree programs must be modified. New pharmacist transition and mentorship programs should be created. Finally, options to deal with family issues and the possibility of a pharmacy practice career path also require investigation.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations