Understanding the impact of professional motivation on the workforce crisis in medicine

Talk Code: 
Efioanwan Andah
Blessing Essang, Charlotte Friend, Sarah Greenley, Kathryn Harvey, Joanne Reeve, Maria Spears
Author institutions: 
Academy of Primary Care, Hull York Medical School


The NHS is facing a workforce crisis. Responses to date have focused on improving recruitment of staff, but with less attention paid to retention. We conducted a rapid review using Moss Kanter’s 3M’s model of workforce motivation as a sensitising framework to examine the current medical workforce crisis. Our work considers how insights from research in other professions offers new thinking for understanding what motivates doctors to continue working.


A systematic search strategy was developed with the aid of an Information Specialist. (Search terms: medical professionals, retention, NHS; exclusions: commentaries, non-medical professionals, non-English language etc; limited to post-1990). This was applied to three electronic databases, MEDLINE, EMBASE and HMIC. This produced a dataset describing study design/quality; and factors related to motivation for leaving the medical profession. Comparative thematic analysis distilled core themes explaining the reasons for leaving and their relation to the 3M’s model.


Of 3389 abstracts identified, screening and assessment produced 82 papers included in the final analysis. Thematic analysis identified 4 key themes: low morale, disconnect, unmanageable change and lack of personal and professional support. The themes of mastery, membership and meaning were substantially present within the dataset.


The 3M’s model of motivation can be applied to the medical workforce to understand retention issues. This work supports the development of targeted solutions to tackle the worsening workforce crisis.

Submitted by: 
Efioanwan Andah
Funding acknowledgement: 
Carried out as part of Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) four-month research placement