Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Knutson, Douglas

Second Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


Employee turnover is a major issue that health care organizations experience. One factor that contributes significantly to turnover is burnout. A significant amount of research on burnout has been conducted in health care settings, however it has primarily focused on health care professionals. Several job characteristics that associated with burnout may be particularly impactful for non-professionals. An area of health care that provides unique challenges and stressors is that of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Brain injury professionals report experience burnout and report experiencing higher levels of burnout the more time they spend with patients. There is a lack of research on the unique experiences of support staff in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation centers. This study explored the phenomena of burnout, turnover, and job satisfaction from the perspective of support staff in a post-hospital brain injury rehabilitation center. I conducted group interviews and administered surveys to explore the unique experiences of support staff. I used grounded theory method to analyze data. The analysis resulted in a balance model of support staff’s work experience. This model is a framework of risk and protective factors that appeared to influence whether these frontline rehabilitation staff experienced negative outcomes from this often challenging/stressful work environment. The model includes four axial categories: Doing the Work; Protective Factors; Risk Factors; and Imbalance of Factors. Within the four axial categories are twenty open-coding level categories. Implications for brain injury rehabilitation organizations and areas for future research are discussed.




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