Phenomenon: Physicians are under intense pressure to improve clinical productivity. High clinical load, limited availability, and decreased clinical efficiency are well-documented barriers to precepting medical students and threaten clinical productivity. In an era of increasing medical student enrollment, these barriers have already led to a decreased availability of clinical teachers and training sites across the United States. Improved preceptor satisfaction could have a great impact on recruitment and retention of medical student preceptors and is likely linked to changes in productivity. Curriculum structure could impact both preceptor productivity and satisfaction. Comparing productivity and satisfaction of physician preceptors teaching in longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) to those teaching in traditional block rotations (TBRs), or in both settings (LIC-TBR), could lead to a better understanding of the impact of curriculum structure on preceptor productivity and satisfaction. Approach: Data were collected through a quantitative cross-sectional survey of outpatient physician preceptors in North Carolina in 2017. Preceptor satisfaction and student influence on productivity-related aspects of practice were analyzed with bivariate chi-square statistics and multivariate logistic regression. Findings: Analyses included 338 physician preceptors: 79 LIC (23%), 50 LIC-TBR (15%), and 209 TBR preceptors (62%). LIC preceptors were more likely to indicate being "very satisfied" with precepting than either their LIC-TBR or TBR counterparts. There were no differences in perceived productivity-related aspects of practice across the different curricula, such as patient flow, income, or physician working hours. Logistic regressions controlling for potential confounding variables suggested that those teaching in LICs were almost 3 times more likely to be "very satisfied" relative to those teaching in LIC-TBR and TBR settings and that the negative influence of students on patient flow and physician working hours had an adverse effect on preceptor satisfaction. Insights: Preceptor satisfaction was high overall, though satisfaction was significantly higher among preceptors who teach in LICs. The perceived impact of students on clinical productivity was stable across the different curricula. In an era of increasing need for physician preceptors, the higher satisfaction of those who teach in LICs should be considered in curricular design and for preceptor recruitment and retention.
Keywords: LIC; longitudinal integrated clerkships; preceptor productivity; preceptor satisfaction; traditional block rotations.