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Purpose: To explore the barriers and incentives that affect primary care providers who precept students in outpatient clinics in the US.
Method: In 2013, leadership of our large primary care group sent a 20-question survey via e-mail to all of the 180 providers within the network. The survey assessed provider demographics, precepting history, learner preferences, and other issues that might affect future decisions about teaching.
Results: The response rate was 50% (90 providers). The top reasons for precepting in the past were enjoyment for teaching and personal interaction with learners. The most commonly cited reason for not precepting previously was a perceived lack of time followed by increased productivity demands. When questioned about the future, 65% (59 respondents) indicated that they were likely to precept within the next 6 months. A desired reduction in productivity expectations was the most commonly cited motivator, followed by anticipated monetary compensation and adjusted appointment times. A top barrier to future precepting was a belief that teaching decreases productivity and requires large amounts of time.
Conclusion: This survey represents an opportunity to study a change in focus for a cohort of busy clinicians who were mostly new to teaching but not new to clinical practice. The survey provides further insight into clinician educators’ perceptions regarding the education of a variety of different learners. The results align with data from previous studies in that time pressures and productivity demands transcend specific programs and learner backgrounds. This information is critical for future clerkship directors and hospital administrators in order to understand how to increase support for potential preceptors in medical education.
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