Objective: To assess attitudes about career progress, resources for career development, and commitment to academic medicine in physician faculty at an academic medical center who spend more than 50% of their time in clinical care.
Design: Faculty survey.
Setting: Academic medical center and associated Veterans Affairs medical center.
Results: A total of 310 physician faculty responded to the survey. Half of the faculty reported spending 50% or less of their time in clinical care (mean, 31% of time) (group 1) and half reported spending more than 50% of their time in clinical care (mean, 72% of time) (group 2). Group 2 faculty had one third of the time for scholarly activities, reported slower career progress, and were less likely to be at the rank of professor (40% and 16% for groups 1 and 2, respectively; P<.001) or to be tenured (52% and 26%, respectively; P<.001) despite similar age and years on faculty. Group 2 faculty were 50% more likely to report that tenure and promotion criteria were not reviewed at their annual progress report (P =.003) and that they did not understand the criteria (P<.001). Group 2 faculty valued excellence in patient care over scholarship and national visibility. Group 2 faculty reported greater dissatisfaction with academic medicine and less commitment to a career in academic medicine.
Conclusions: Physician faculty who spend more than 50% of their time in clinical care have less time, mentoring, and resources needed for development of an academic career. These obstacles plus differences in their attitudes about career success and recognition contribute to significant differences in promotion. These factors are associated with greater dissatisfaction with academic medicine and lower commitment to academic careers.