Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


Search This Site

COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

What Motivates the Community Preceptor? A Qualitative Analysis of Community-based Pediatric Preceptors

Gary L. Beck,University of Nebraska Medical Center,Omaha,NE,Michael S. Ryan,Virginia Commonwealth University,Richmond,VA,Patricia B. Patterson,Maine Medical Center,Portland,Maine,Rebecca Tenney-Soeiro,Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania,Philadelphia,PA,Chris Peltier,University of Cincinnati College of Medicine,Cincinnati,OH,Cynthia Christy,University of Rochester,Rochester,NY,Chad Vercio,Loma Linda Inland Empire Consortium for Healthcare,Redlands,CA,Jean A. Petershack,UTHSCSA,San Antonio,Tx,Caroline R. Paul,University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health,Madison,Wisconsin,Anton M. Alerte,University of Connecticut,Hartford,CT,William A. Mills,University of North Carolina School of Medicine,Chapel Hill,NC,Alanna Higgins,Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago,Chicago,IL,Julie K. Stamos,Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine,Chicago,IL,Sue Tolleson-Rinehart,University of North Carolina School of Medicine,Chapel Hill,NC

Background:  Inability to recruit and retain community preceptors for medical student clinical education is a major difficulty across the country (1,2). Many educators are trying to combat this concern by identifying and developing strategies for overcoming barriers. Drawing on the positive deviancy concept, we are seeking to determine the positive aspects of teaching and training medical students that motivate Pediatric community-based preceptors.

Objective:  The purpose of this study is to explore in detail motivators for community-based preceptors.

Methods: This is a multi-center qualitative action research study involving semi-structured interviews with community-based Pediatric preceptors affiliated with 16 institutions. The primary reason for engaging in action research is to assist in improving and/or refining individual work, programs or processes.  Participating institutions are diverse with respect to geographic location, private vs public, and size of class. Phone or in person interviews are done by site PI or their designee. Sample size is determined by saturation, the point in data collection when no new or relevant information emerges, estimated at 3-8 interviews per participating center. Interviews are transcribed and participants are asked to review the transcriptions for intended meaning. Final transcripts are de-identified and a code book will be developed by 3 coders. Through a constant comparative method, codes will be revised as data are analyzed. Disagreements for codes will be resolved through discussion and consensus. Final interpretation of the meaning of identified themes will be decided by the entire research team.  Each site has obtained IRB approval prior to conducting interviews.

Results:  At the time of submission, 23 interviews have been completed, transcribed and reviewed by physician participants. Interviews will be completed by November 30. Analysis will be completed by February 1.  Final results will be completed by March 15.

Discussion:  Identifying characteristics that motivate community-based preceptors to provide educational experiences to medical students may help COMSEP members and medical schools recruit new and retain current preceptors. Identifying themes emerging from these interviews will guide COMSEP in developing promotional materials detailing the benefits of being a community-based preceptor.



1. Erikson C, Hamann R, Levitan T, Pankow S, Stanley J, Whately M. Recruiting and maintaining U.S. clinical training sites: Joint report of the 2013 Multi-Discipline Clerkship/Clinical Training Site Survey. Association of American Medical Colleges, 2014 (

2. Ryan MS, Vanderbilt AA, Lewis TW, Madden MA. (2013). Benefits and barriers among volunteer teaching faculty: comparison between those who precept and those who do not in the core pediatrics clerkship. Med Educ Online 2013; 18:1-7.