A review of the literature was performed to understand trends, patterns, and strategies to improve retention of physical therapists in acute care hospitals. The purpose of this article is to discuss contributing factors and explore 2 specific groups of strategies—human factors and quality management/quality control—to reduce attrition and increase retention of acute care hospital physical therapists. This article also discusses processes such as changing organizational variables, continuously assessing the workforce, establishing an internal leadership bank, and employee/management surveys as strategies to enhance retention of acute care physical therapists.
A variety of collective actions by both managers and employees can be implemented to reduce the challenges of acute care physical therapy turnover. No one action is more important than the others. Recommendations for future research include a qualitative study of employees who have worked in and subsequently left acute care hospitals to understand their lived experiences. Furthermore, a retrospective review of organizations' human resource files on employees who have left might uncover additional factors specific to the organization that are related to turnover. In addition, further studies addressing acute care physical therapists employed longer than 5 years might reveal more about their motivations for staying in such a challenging work environment.