Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


Search This Site

Journal Club

Volunteer faculty: for love or money?
Benefits and Barriers Among Volunteer Teaching Faculty: Comparison Between Those Who Precept and Those Who Do not in the Core Pediatric Clerkship. Ryan M et al. Medical Education Online. 2013; 18: 10.3402/meo.v18i0.20733

Reviewed by Meisha Graham

What was your study question?
The purpose of this study was to compare characteristics of community-based physicians who precept third year medical students with those who don’t.

How was the study done?
A survey was administered to community pediatricians in Richmond, Virginia. The complete survey consisted of 50 questions targeting demographics, current involvement in teaching, perceived motivations/rewards, and barriers to precepting.

What were the results?
340 surveys were distributed and 72 were returned. Participant responses were analyzed in two groups: active preceptors (those who precepted one or more third year medical student in the last 12 months) and inactive preceptors (those who did not). Of the respondents, 50% were active preceptors and 50% were inactive preceptors. Demographic characteristics were similar in the two groups.

Both groups identified opportunities to demonstrate the primary care model, share knowledge, and participate in the education of the next generation of physicians, as the most significant intrinsic motivators. Both groups identified the ability to apply their participation to Maintenance of Certification and Continuing Medical Education as the most significant extrinsic motivators. Inactive preceptors rated financial compensation as significantly more important compared to active preceptors, whereas active preceptors cited recognition as a more significant extrinsic motivator. Overall, both groups considered intrinsic benefits more motivational than extrinsic.

What are the implications of these findings?
Knowing the demographics of community physicians most likely to precept medical students is beneficial for pediatric clerkship directors seeking preceptors. It is also beneficial to know the motivators of volunteer preceptors to ensure recruitment efforts are focused on their interests.

Editor’s Note: While both groups were primarily motivated by a desire to teach, this valuable study suggests that retention and recruitment may require different approaches: current preceptors are more likely to respond to praise in the form of letters, plaques or teaching awards while those who are inactive are more likely to respond to financial compensation. (JG)


Return to Journal Club