A survey to assess family physicians' motivation to teach undergraduates in their practices

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45846. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045846. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

Abstract

Background: In Germany, family physicians (FPs) are increasingly needed to participate in undergraduate medical education. Knowledge of FPs' motivation to teach medical students in their practices is lacking.

Purpose: To describe a novel questionnaire that assesses the motivation of FPs to teach undergraduates in their practices and to show the results of a subsequent survey using this instrument.

Methods: The questionnaire was developed based on a review of the literature. Previously used empirical instruments assessing occupational values and motivation were included. A preliminary version was pretested in a pilot study. The resulting 68-item questionnaire was sent to 691 FPs involved in undergraduate medical education. Reliability was assessed and subgroups were analyzed with regard to differences in motivation.

Results: A total of 523 physicians in n = 458 teaching practices participated (response rate 75.7%). 'Helping others' and 'interest' were revealed as the predominant motives. Responses showed a predominantly intrinsic motivation of the participating FPs. Their main incentives were an ambition to work as a medical preceptor, to generally improve undergraduate education and to share knowledge. Material compensation was of minor importance. Time restraints were indicated as a barrier by some FPs, but were not a general concern.

Conclusion: German FPs involved in medical education have altruistic attitudes towards teaching medical students in their practices. Motivational features give an important insight for the recruitment of FP preceptors as well as for their training in instructional methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Social Values
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Teaching

Grant support

The study was funded by the Hannover Medical School. Support was also received from the support Program ‘open access publication’ of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.