Academic journal article Journal of School Health

The 1993 ASHA Membership Survey: Members Speak Up

Academic journal article Journal of School Health

The 1993 ASHA Membership Survey: Members Speak Up

Article excerpt

Professional organizations, to better serve their members, must strive to communicate regularly with the membership at large and to learn about members' needs, interests, and personal and professional status.|1~ For these reasons, the American School Health Association historically has conducted a membership survey every two years. Findings from these surveys help ASHA develop and implement programs and policies requested by members to improve their professional practice.|2,3~ By improving the professional capabilities of its members, the American School Health Association, consistent with its mission, improves the health of school-aged children.

PROCEDURE

The membership questionnaire that was extensively revised in 1991 was adapted for this survey. One question regarding the schedule rotation for the annual conference was added. Based on a recommendation from the 1991 ASHA membership survey, a stratified sampling technique was used. The entire ASHA master list of 4,021 members was divided by members' primary discipline: Health Education, Nursing, Medicine, and Others. Proportionately, 200 health educators, 200 nurses, and 100 physicians and others were selected randomly within each of the aforementioned groups. To maximize the response rate,|4~ selected members were sent a post card informing them that they had been randomly selected to participate in the biennial membership survey.

They also were informed that in two weeks they would receive the survey and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. The questionnaire was mailed and followed with two follow-up post cards strongly encouraging the selected members to participate. The data collection phase was concluded with a "thank you" post card.

ASHA National Office staff printed the questionnaire, and conducted and monitored the data collection phase. Returned questionnaires were received at Indiana University, where they were entered manually into the computer and analyzed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences.|5~ Responses to the open-ended questions were tabulated manually.

FINDINGS

As a result of the extensive follow-up mailings, 342 of 500 selected members responded, comprising a response rate of 68.4%. This represents a major improvement in the response rate over the 1988 (19%) and 1991 (28%) membership surveys.

Demographic Information

Of the 342 ASHA members responding, 82% were females and 18% were males. Respondents' median age was between 35-49 years old. Almost all respondents were Caucasian (93%); 3.2% of respondents reported their ethnicity as African-American. Hispanics and Asian-American each accounted for about 1% of total respondents. Most respondents were married (66.8%). About 47% of respondents worked in a "suburban area (medium-size city)." Approximately 27% were employed in "urban (large city) environments," and the remaining 26% worked in "rural (small town/rural area)" locations. Respondents resided in 47 different states.

Respondents' educational attainment ranged from no degree (student) to doctorate of philosophy. Respondents were almost equally divided into three categories: baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate.

Among respondents, about 39% worked primarily in "health education," another 39% listed "nursing" as their primary discipline, 12% identified "medicine" as their primary discipline, and 10% reported they were involved in "other" disciplines.

Respondents' median income was between $21,000 and $40,000. This group constituted 43% of respondents. Nearly 31% reported an income range of $41,000 to $60,000 per year. About 8% reported an income below $20,000, and about 18% had an income in excess of $60,000.

Professional Memberships

With regard to number of years of ASHA membership, most (66%) reported holding membership for five years or less, 23% for 6-15 years, 7% for 16-25 years, and the remaining 4% reported more than 26 years. …

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