Modern health care is mainly delivered through hospitals that are established to meet the needs of patients. Willan (1990) defines hospital as "a diagnostic and treatment facility providing board and lodging medical care and continuous nursing care for alleviation or care of diseases, illness or injury to in-patients and may be also, outpatients and emergency patients." He adds that the facility must have at least one physician on the permanent staff, make provision for in-patients to remain at least 24 hours and maintain clinical records on all patients.
Medical records are very important in the management and treatment of patients. Huffman (1994) defines medical records "as a compilation of pertinent facts of a patient's life and history including past and present illness(es) and treatments written by health professionals contributing to that patient care." He also states that medical records must be compiled in a timely manner and should contain sufficient data to identify the patient, support the diagnosis or reason for health care encounter, justify the treatment, and accurately document the results.
In addition, Mogli (2001) defines medical records as "an orderly written document encompassing the patient's identification data, health history, physical examination findings, laboratory reports, diagnosis, treatment and surgical procedures and hospital course." According to him the purposes of medical records are:
* To provide a means of communication among physicians, nurses and other allied health care professionals
* To serve as an easy reference for providing continuity in patient care
* To furnish documentary evidence of care provided in the health care facility
* To serve as an informational document to assist in the quality review of patient care
* To protect the patient, physician, and health care institution and its employees in the event of litigation
* To render clinical and administrative data required for budgeting, management service development, planning review, medical education, and medical research
* To supply pertinent patient care information to authorized organizations and third party payers
Medical records personnel play a vital role in the care of patients by ensuring the effective management of medical records in various health care facilities. For them to give in their best service, they must be highly committed to the organization where they are employed.
Organizational commitment has been defined as the degree to which employees believe in and accept organizational goals and desire to remain with the organization (Mathis & Jackson, 2000). Similarly, Wright and Noe (1996) defined organizational commitment as "the degree or extent to which employees strongly identify with the organization and feel attached to it."
Studies have shown that organizational commitment among employees promotes organizational effectiveness through job performance and quality and low levels of tardiness, absenteeism, and turnover (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990, Randall, 1990).
The development of organizational commitment among employees can be influenced variables such as age, marital status, gender, locus of control, and job satisfaction. For the purpose of this study, the influence of locus of control and job satisfaction on organizational commitment will be considered.
Locus of control is a personality variable which refers to individuals' perception of the main causes of events in life. Locus of control can be divided into internal locus of control and external locus of control. Individuals with internal locus of control are called internals. They believe that they have control over their destinies. They tend to be convinced that their own skills, abilities, and efforts determine the bulk of their life experiences. Individuals who have external locus of control are called externals. …