The effectiveness of the induction and orientation programme in the Nkangala Health District of Mpumalanga Province, 2006 to 2007.
INTRODUCTION The high staff turnover and high rates of absenteeism in health professionals poses an alarming challenge in the Public Health Facilities in the Nkangala Health District of Mpumalanga province. This could lead to the quality of care to patients being compromised. The Human Resource Directorate within the Department of Health has introduced a formal induction and orientation process in the health facilities for new staff which should assist with the retention of staff and enhance their productivity. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The purpose of this research study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Human Resource Management unit in implementing the induction and orientation programme for newly appointed health professionals at the Nkangala Health District of Mpumalanga Province. METHODS The study method is quantitative in nature using an observational descriptive design with the minor qualitative component for detailing the quantitative findings. Stratified random sampling was used to select the respondents from the Persal database of 2006-2007. Two hundred and three respondents participated in this study. The Persal database is the human resource database used for managing the personnel records of all permanent employees. A self-administered questionnaire was developed to collect data from the health care professionals at the Thembisile and JS Moroka health facilities in the Nkangala Health District in Mpumalanga. The exposure variable was the implementation of the induction and orientation programme. The outcome variable was the measurement of the effective implementation of the induction and orientation programme. The questionnaire consisted of open- and closed-ended questions covering demographic data and organisational characteristics related to the objectives of the study. The validation of the questionnaire was done in consultation with the Human Resource Development unit of the Nkangala Health District through a pilot study. The data was collected using Microsoft Excel and analysed using SPSS statistical software. RESULTS The data was categorised and interpreted according to the respondents’ views. The findings were presented using categorical variables of medical doctors, allied health professionals, nursing staff and health facility managers. The site questionnaire was based on the Departmental Transformation Unit tool to assess the 6 variables being purpose, empowerment, relationships and communications, flexibility, optimal productivity, recognition and morale relating to the performance of health facilities. MS Excel was used to consolidate the views of the respondents in relation to the implementation of induction and orientation programme which did not benefit the medical doctors and allied health professionals as they were not assigned with mentors. DISCUSSION This study identified the most important interventions and support that newly employed health professionals expected in their career development. The induction and orientation programmes are used interchangeably by the Human Resource Department - hence, there was no formal induction process conducted. The induction and orientation process is not being evaluated to review the programme. The facility managers’ participation in the study assisted with their supportive roles in the career development of the health professionals. CONCLUSION It is hoped that the findings of this study will be of benefit to the Health Professionals in the Department of Health, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. In addition, the study assessed the Management of Career Development programme which is used by the Department of Health in Mpumalanga Province to strengthen the induction and orientation programme of health professionals.