Satisfaction, Motivation, and Future of Community Preceptors: What Are the Current Trends?

Latessa, Robyn MD; Colvin, Gaye MLIS; Beaty, Norma MS, MAEd; Steiner, Beat D. MD, MPH; Pathman, Donald E. MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829a3689
Research Reports

Purpose: To measure overall satisfaction of community-based preceptors, their anticipated likelihood of continuing to teach, professional satisfaction, influence of having students, motivation for teaching, satisfaction with professional practice, and satisfaction with and value of incentives, and to compare results with those of a similar 2005 statewide survey.

Method: In 2011, the authors distributed a 25-item survey to all 2,359 community-based primary care preceptors (physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants) served by the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers system’s Offices of Regional Primary Care Education. The survey targeted the same items and pool of eligible respondents as did the North Carolina Area Health Education Center 2005 Preceptor Survey.

Results: Of 2,359 preceptors contacted, 1,278 (54.2%) completed questionnaires. The data from 2011 did not differ significantly from the 2005 data. In 2011, respondents were satisfied with precepting (91.7%), anticipated continuing to precept for the next five years (88.7%), and were satisfied overall with their professional life (93.7%). Intrinsic reasons (e.g., enjoyment of teaching) remained an important motivation for teaching students. Physicians reported significantly lower overall satisfaction with extrinsic incentives (e.g., monetary compensation) and felt more negativity about the influence of students on their practices.

Conclusions: This study found that preceptors continue to be satisfied with teaching students. Intrinsic reasons remain an important motivation to precept, but monetary compensation may have increasing importance. Physicians responded more negatively than other health provider groups to several questions, suggesting that their needs might be better met by redesigned teaching models.

Dr. Latessa is campus director, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine–Asheville, associate professor, UNC Department of Family Medicine, clinical coordinator, Office of Regional Primary Care Education, and clinical director, Center for Health Professions Education, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

Ms. Colvin is director, Office of Regional Primary Care Education, coordinator, CQI, Research, and Grants for Division of Family Medicine, and director, Center for Health Professions Education, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

Ms. Beaty is director of curriculum and student affairs, University of North Carolina School of Medicine–Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina.

Dr. Steiner is professor and director of the medical student program, Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Dr. Pathman is professor and research director, Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and director, Program on Primary Care, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Latessa, UNC School of Medicine–Asheville, 121 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28801; telephone: (828) 771-3429; fax: (828) 407-2880; e-mail: robyn.latessa@mahec.net.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges