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Issues of Employee Education and Retention in Army Medical Officers

September 8th, 2020




Dear Mr/Mrs (Name)

The report that is enclosed ahead contains “Education and Retention of Employees in the Medical field of Army.” The report looks at the various issues of retention which have been identified and also suggests what could be done for improvement in employee retention.

Thank you for your valuable time and for reading this report, it is deeply appreciated. I hope the report proves useful in the betterment of employees at the Medical unit in the Army.






Executive Summary

The report focuses on the issue of retention in the army medical officers and the level of training and education that needs to increase. It outlines the two different types of researches that are being used in the form of peer-reviewed articles and website articles, which are used as sources for the study. The final results showed that financial incentives and the stress of being deployed are the two main reasons why people don’t opt for becoming or remaining military doctors, which can be reduced by having an open-minded administration and a broader approach towards the medical field in the Army.

Issues of Employee Education and Retention in Army Medical Officers



The reason why retention has been an ever-growing issue in the US army, in the case of doctors, is mainly because of how tough the job has gotten for the personnel and it isn’t just the job that is tough, it is also the factor of being in the military, and military requirements like constant deployments, because of which people choose to leave the Army, and aren’t even fond of the job. There is a financial aspect attached to this as well because the level of effort that goes into the job, the return isn’t even close to that, in terms of the financial gain that military doctors and nurses get, because of which they choose to leave the job and work elsewhere than to continue working in that environment.

Another driving force for most doctors is to stay in the job for as long as they need to pay off student loans and pending college fees, and as soon as that is done, they decide to go out and look for better, relatively easier jobs, which are good for the money and effort that is being given to the job. The main reason, however, is always the comparison between the pays that civilian physicians and doctors get, with the ease of not being deployed, and what the military doctors are paid with the fact that they have to be deployed.


The purpose of this study is to point out the different reasons why people choose to opt-out of medical jobs in the military. The different reasons being pointed can give the military a point of focus, which will help them increase employee retention in the Army as a whole. Not just the employee retention but it also targets the fact that medical personnel need to constantly stay up to date with the latest medical practices and medical procedures because it will give them an edge in their jobs and can also lead to more financial benefits for them because of the added leverage of them being doctors or nurses. This study also highlights different researches that have already been conducted and which show how employee retention has been a problem and what methods can be used to remove that issue. The final step of this study is to provide the reason with practical and possible recommendations, which can help them minimize and possibly remove the extent of the issue and retain the medical personnel’s in the Army, much better than they could before. The study will prove to be a guide and help to the different approaches that can be applied to help people stay satisfied and happy military employees.

Overview of Methodology

The methodology which is being used for this research is qualitative research. This means that the research which has already been conducted before will be used to determine the conclusion and results of the study. The study will be divided into two main parts; the primary research for the paper and the secondary research for the paper. This will include both peer-reviewed journal articles, acting as the primary research, and well-known website articles acting as the secondary research, which will help narrow down the results.  A qualitative study will establish an exploratory platform for both the researchers and the readers as past experiences and studies will aid the current study in the final recommendations of what can be done to reduce the problem. The articles of both kinds will include solid data on how retention has been a problem previously and what can be done to reduce this, and why.


Primary Research

For the primary research, four different peer-reviewed articles have been narrowed down, which cater to the existing problem and have already addressed it in the past, giving the possible solutions and recommendations of the problems. The reason for choosing peer-reviewed articles as the primary source of research is because they are globally available articles that anyone can access all over the world, which makes them quite credible as resources for future studies. The articles have also been reviewed and approved by the quality and capable journals for publishing, which means that they do contain content that can be viable for future use and further expansion of similar research. These four articles have also been narrowed down because of their direct link with the issue and the different insights it will be able to provide on the given issue of employee retention in military doctors, thus acting as reliable sources of information.

Secondary Research

For the secondary research, six different credible and authentic website articles have been narrowed down. This is in the secondary research category because these sources are usually personal experiences of people or one to one interviews with people who have personal experiences, and without the actual factual data available, thus people tend to consider these as aiding research to the primary research as they add viable opinions and sheds light on issues that may otherwise have been missed by the primary research, like a specific individuals behavior. Where primary behavior tends to circle the majority and data for a good amount of people/things, secondary data can even come from a single person’s experience of working in the military as a doctor, which can give a different insight into the given matter and help expand the range of recommendations which can be given.


The first journal article (Holmes et al., 2009) stalks about the retention of medical students in the USUHS military medical school, and they applied financial incentives as a factor to encourage more students to enroll for medical school for the military. They were also able to narrow down a few reasons like obligatory service, deployment, and less financial incentives as the key reasons why people may not be opting for military medical school.

According to (Gray & Grefer 2012), the level of retention as medical officers in the Army revolves around the financial payback that is being given to the people, with constant comparison with civilian doctors at different stages during their career. This study narrowed down the fact that there are significant compensation differences, especially when military doctors are in the un-obligatory service period of their total service, because of which retention is low.

According to (Marble et al., 2020) and the study, retention in the US army as doctors has been narrowed down as a problem that has been addressed with solutions like increasing the obligatory service periods and the additional financial benefits that the medical officers get during that service. However, the study also clarified that other reasons may also be at play in the low retention rates and the issue, which hasn’t been narrowed down as of yet.

In their study, (Zangaro & Watts Kelley, 2010) state that nurses need to have a good, positive environment to work in. They narrowed down a few job satisfiers, which may make the entire issue better, like having a good team of nurses working together, having good pay with added benefits and financial incentives like bonuses, new experiences for the employees, and constant training. In the case of nurses, one of the mean reasons for low retention was the kind of low support they got from the leadership they worked under. This study specifically outlined a different kind of issue that hasn’t been addressed elsewhere.

According to (Dunne & McDonald, 2010), PULSE is a training program that was established for the military personnel using a virtual platform where physical attendance wouldn’t be required. This is a perfect platform for military doctors who may be deployed in far off areas to brush up on their skills, learn about different specialties and procedures, and they wouldn’t have to worry about the distance. This can also help the military doctors feel more brushed up in their skills and more motivated to work.

In (Mueller, Moloff, Wedmore, Schoeff, & Laporta’s, 2012)’s study, they conducted high-stress response sessions where they tested an army medical officer’s ability to handle high-stress situations. A series of different situations will be presented in front of the military doctors, and then it will note how they react to the different simulations and the skills they use.

Coming towards the website articles (Wetherill, 2020) describes how a single day as a military doctor in the US is like for her. She has given an hour to hour update on her job, which shows that the job entails a full day of work, where there are little to no breaks, no leverage for a mistake, and huge responsibility of not just doing the medical work, but also the documentation of the work, and teaching in the afternoons, which shows what a high-stress job this is.

According to (A. Hi1mar et al., 2020), they believe that the decision of staying or leaving the military should remain in the hands of the personnel themselves because that way, they feel the most comfortable at their job and aren’t constantly in fear of being given early retirement. This also suggested that is the retirement after 20 years rule is lifted, and many personnel would even consider sticking around for a longer period, regardless of the issues that they might face.

Researcher (Kane, 2020) believes that the reason why people decide to opt for civil or private jobs is because of the high level of bureaucracy in the military in general, which means that there is no leverage for changes and developments with the changes and developments that are occurring in the world. All of the aspects of a military-related job originate from the entire idea of conforming to the one way things should be done, and those who have differing views often just remain quiet, so the issue of bureaucracy is why people decide to go and work in a more open-minded and free environment.

According to (“The Army Needs to look hard at retention, not just recruitment.”, 2020), the Army needs to start focusing more on the issue of retaining the existing workers rather than employing and recruiting newer ones. The newer ones will also be a loss if they, too, could not be retained in the future. This is mainly because many of the military personnel don’t have a good enough experience working in the Army to further suggest it to other people as well. Apart from this, the pay structure and the work-life balance is not worth the amount of effort that goes into the job.


Probably the first and biggest recommendation for to improve the retention in army officers in the medical field would be to give them some sort of financial bonus or leverage to make up for the time they spend in tough deployments that they are sent to, as a sort of financial compensation for the tough job. Where some doctors may have the determination and motivation to do a hard time for the sake of the country, most recruits are a lot more used to getting incentives and having something to work for, so if they don’t see an incentive to working a hard area, they will simply switch jobs and work elsewhere with the easier working environment. Secondly, the military should also constantly update their training programs in a way that fits different kinds of medical officers, their professions, and their fields of interests, rather than asking all of them to conform to a single type of medical work and nothing else. And lastly, the employees should be given a longer service period, so that if they want to work for the military for a longer period, they should be allowed to, rather than giving them a forced retirement.

  • Hi1mar, N., Collette, P., Schusky, J., & Hart, C. (2020). FACTORS AFFECT ING THE CAREER INTENTIONS OF U. S. ARM MEDICAL OFFICERS. Norc.org. Retrieved 8 September 2020, from https://www.norc.org/PDFs/publications/NORCRpt_67.pdf.
  • Dunne, J., & McDonald, C. (2010). Pulse!!: A Model for Research and Development of Virtual-Reality Learning in Military Medical Education and Training. Military Medicine175(7S), 025-027. https://doi.org/10.7205/milmed-d-10-00158
  • Gray, B., & Grefer, J. (2012). CAREER EARNINGS AND RETENTION OF U.S. MILITARY PHYSICIANS. Defence And Peace Economics23(1), 51-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/10242694.2011.562371
  • Holmes, S., Lee, D., Charny, G., Guthrie, J., & Knight, J. (2009). Military Physician Recruitment and Retention: A Survey of Students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Military Medicine174(5), 529-534. https://doi.org/10.7205/milmed-d-01-6508
  • Kane, T. (2020). Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving. The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 September 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/why-our-best-officers-are-leaving/308346/.
  • Marble, W., Cox, E., Hundertmark, J., Goymerac, P., Murray, C., & Soderdahl, D. (2020). U.S. Army Medical Corps Recruitment, Job Satisfaction, and Retention: Historical Perspectives and Current Issues. Military Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/milmed/usaa094
  • Mueller, G.R., Moloff, A., Wedmore, I.S., Schoeff, J.E., & Laporta, A.J. (2012). High intensity scenario training of military medical students to increase learning capacity and management of stress response. Journal of special operations medicine : a peer reviewed journal for SOF medical professionals, 12 2, 71-6 .
  • The Army Needs to look hard at retention, not just recruitment.. Wavellroom.com. (2020). Retrieved 8 September 2020, from https://wavellroom.com/2019/05/07/the-army-needs-to-look-hard-at-retention-not-just-recruitment/.
  • Wetherill, N. (2020). A day in the life of an army medical officer. Pulse Today. Retrieved 8 September 2020, from https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/partners-/working-life/a-day-in-the-life-of-an-army-medical-officer/20030225.article.
  • Zangaro, G., & Watts Kelley, P. (2010). Job Satisfaction and Retention of Military Nurses A Review of the Literature. Annual Review Of Nursing Research28(1), 19-41. https://doi.org/10.1891/0739-6686.28.19

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