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Teach Learn Med. 2002 Spring;14(2):119-23.

Volunteer faculty: what rewards or incentives do they prefer?

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Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University, C203 East Fee Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1316, USA.



Clerkship directors and college administrators have concerns about recruitment and retention of practicing physicians for volunteer teaching. There is a paucity of data regarding the rewards and incentives offered to, or desired by, the nonsalaried community-based practicing physicians who volunteer their time to teach.


This study was designed to gain information about rewards and incentives from volunteer teachers in pediatric, family practice, and internal medicine clerkships.


We surveyed nonsalaried physician teachers of internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics across the United States. The survey focused on teachers' evaluation of the rewards or incentives offered by the programs in the following categories: educational opportunities, services or gifts, recognition bestowed by the school, academic appointments, and monetary payments. Respondents rated each item from 1 (not appreciated) to 5 (very much appreciated). They also were asked to rank order the rewards or incentives (with the addition of a category of personal satisfaction) from 1 (least appreciated) to 6 (most appreciated).


Educational opportunities received high ratings, especially when the school bore the cost of providing a service. Payment for teaching was offered to 37% of the respondents, and those who were paid rated it higher. Overall, payment for teaching had a mean appreciation score of 3.94, second only to travel and meeting registration reimbursement (4.27). However, in the rank order listing, personal satisfaction had the highest rank (5.16). In contrast, payment for teaching (2.92) and gifts or services from the college (2.53) were at the bottom of the rank order.


The survey asked practicing physicians the value they placed on awards and incentives provided to them by the college. This information should help administrators and clerkship directors in recruiting and retaining community-based practicing physicians for teaching.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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