Date of Conferral



Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)




Eugene Meyer


AbstractHigh direct care staff (DCS) turnover in psychiatric residential treatment facilities presents significant organizational challenges. Insufficient DCS levels and high turnover rates can undermine an organization’s ability to provide quality care to residents who have acute psychiatric symptoms, maintain a safe environment, and achieve strategic goals. This case study was grounded in the Baldrige Excellence Framework and focused on the DCS retention challenges experienced by a psychiatric residential treatment facility in the southeastern United States. Sources of data included semi structured interviews with seven organizational leaders, a review of organizational archival records, and an academic literature review. Thematic content analysis revealed (a) the organization’s DCS are entry-level, low wage positions requiring minimal experience, (b) the organization’s DCS need specialized and continuous training to manage the acuity of the client population, (c) the importance of utilizing trauma-informed care models, and (d) efforts to improve DCS retention should be evaluated to ensure effectiveness. Strategy, workforce, and client-focused recommendations are provided to address study findings. Improving DCS retention in residential treatment settings contributes to positive social change, as DCS stability is essential for successful behavioral health treatment outcomes for vulnerable youth.