The relationship of noncognitive variables and their contribution to attrition among health care specialists at Fort Sam Houston, TX
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The Health Care Specialist Course trains Active Army, Army Reserves, Army National Guard and various international students in basic medical care, culminating in the possession of the EMT-B certification. The course is conducted in a stressful environment where students are required to be successful in both academic and nonacademic domains. Within the last decade, course administrators have noticed a higher rate of attrition and requested assistance with understanding why one-fifth of students fail to graduate with their original unit. A high rate of attrition results in an increased use of resources and it decreases the Army’s ability to provide qualified Health Care Specialists to forward units. The purpose of this study was to understand how noncognitive factors contribute to attirition in the Health Care Specialist Program with students who were within their first six months of training. This study specifically focuses on the experiences of the recyled student. The Modified Noncognitive Questionnarie (NCQ) and the Military Environment Noncognitive Adjustment Scale (MENAS), which focused on measuring noncognitive variables, were used with both passing and recycled students. In addition, an interview was used for recycled students to allow them the opportunity to elaborate on their personal experiences. This mixed methods explanatory research study revealed quantitatively, using the t-test, that a significant difference exists between the passing and recycled groups in their: level of motivation, realistic self-appraisal, battle buddy support, unit support, preference for long-term goals, ability to successfully handle racism, and their level of stress. Logistic regression revealed the following to be predictive of attrition for students participating in this course: low ST score, unrealistic self-appraisal, preference for shortterm goals, low perception of battle buddy support and unit support, a high level of stress and low motivation to complete the course. Qualitative results were consistent with quantitative results and added a deeper understanding of how students negotiated the academic and military environment. The results of this study will contribute to course administrators understanding of the challenges that student’s encounter while matriculating through this course.
Woods, Yvette (2007). The relationship of noncognitive variables and their contribution to attrition among health care specialists at Fort Sam Houston, TX. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from