The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has supported more than 40,000 primary care, mental health and dental health clinicians with scholarships and loan repayment incentives to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas. Retaining these clinicians after they complete their service commitments (typically 2-5 years) is key to the NHSC’s lasting impact on underserved communities and for further leveraging the Federal investment to expand access to care. QRS and its subcontractor UNC-Chapel Hills conducted a study to assess retention rates for recent NHSC clinicians after they complete their service contracts and to compare these recent retention rates to the rates documented in NHSC’s 1998 retention survey. The current study assessed retention in the short-term (1 month to 1 year after service terms are completed), mid-term (2-5 years) and long-term (7-12 years), and identified factors associated with higher retention rates over time.
A national survey was conducted of current and past NHSC clinicians to learn about their backgrounds, NHSC practices and experiences, and subsequent careers. Three NHSC clinician cohorts were surveyed: (1) those who were serving in 1998 and had responded to the previous retention survey, (2) clinicians who were serving in 2005, and (3) clinicians who were currently serving