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Exploring workforce retention issues in learning disability services

Workforce retention in learning disability social care services can be influenced by factors such as job satisfaction, feeling part of a supportive team and pay

Workforce retention in learning disability social care services can be influenced by factors such as job satisfaction, feeling part of a supportive team and pay

King's College London researchers carried out two rounds of semi-structured interviews were with 47 social care managers and staff from a range of learning disability providers between 2009 and 2014 in a study about workforce retention issues in learning disability services.
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Retention of workers in learning disability social care services is linked to low pay but it is also influenced by job satisfaction and improving the lives of the people supported, according to a study.

Findings from King’s College London researchers are relevant across many of the teams and services that learning disability nurses work in and are worthy of wider consideration.

As part of a broader longitudinal research programme, two rounds of semi-structured interviews were conducted with 47 social care managers and staff from a range of learning disability providers between 2009 and 2014. Interviews were analysed thematically.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, low pay was felt to be associated with problems in staff retention.

However, feeling a part of a supportive team was associated with job satisfaction and improved retention, as were gestures of appreciation from managers, and being offered training opportunities that went beyond basic mandatory requirements.

It can be argued that these factors apply to many sectors. However, two further areas more closely aligned to efficacy and hopefulness were identified. With learning disability services, improved retention was associated with staff working in person-centred ways that tangibly improved the quality of life of the people they supported.


Reference

Stevens M, Moriarty J, Manthorpe J et al (2019) What encourages care workers to continue working in intellectual disability services in England? Interview findings. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. 1-18


Dave Atkinson is an independent consultant nurseDave Atkinson is an independent consultant nurse

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