Background: Learner satisfaction assessment is critical in the design and improvement of training programs. However, little is known about what influences satisfaction and whether trainee specialty is correlated. A national comparison of satisfaction among internal medicine subspecialty fellows in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a unique opportunity to examine educational factors associated with learner satisfaction. We compared satisfaction across internal medicine fellows by subspecialty and compared factors associated with satisfaction between procedural versus non-procedural subspecialty fellows, using data from the Learners' Perceptions Survey (LPS), a validated survey tool.
Methods: We surveyed 2,221 internal medicine subspecialty fellows rotating through VA between 2001 and 2008. Learners rated their overall training satisfaction on a 100-point scale, and on a five-point Likert scale ranked satisfaction with items within six educational domains: learning, clinical, working and physical environments; personal experience; and clinical faculty/preceptor.
Results: Procedural and non-procedural fellows reported similar overall satisfaction scores (81.2 and 81.6). Non-procedural fellows reported higher satisfaction with 79 of 81 items within the 6 domains and with the domain of physical environment (4.06 vs. 3.85, p <0.001). Satisfaction with clinical faculty/preceptor and personal experience had the strongest impact on overall satisfaction for both. Procedural fellows reported lower satisfaction with physical environment.
Conclusions: Internal medicine fellows are highly satisfied with their VA training. Nonprocedural fellows reported higher satisfaction with most items. For both procedural and non-procedural fellows, clinical faculty/preceptor and personal experience have the strongest impact on overall satisfaction.