Family Medicine Clerkship Directors' Handling of Student Mistreatment: Results From a CERA Survey

Fam Med. 2020 May;52(5):324-331. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2020.409025.


Background and objectives: Little is known about how family medicine clerkship directors (FMCDs) handle reports of student mistreatment. We investigated FMCDs' involvement in handling and resolving these reports.

Methods: We collected data as part of the 2019 CERA survey of FMCDs. FMCDs provided responses on how they handled student mistreatment reports and their comfort level in resolving these reports.

Results: Ninety-nine out of 142 FMCDs (69.7%) responded to the survey. Regarding mistreatment reports, 24.2% of FMCDs had received at least one report of student mistreatment about full-time faculty in the past 3 years, compared to 64.6% of FMCDs receiving at least one report about community preceptors (P<.001). Regarding who determined the response to the mistreatment, 13.1% of FMCDs were the highest level of leadership responsible for stopping use of a full-time faculty member for mistreatment concerns, while 42.4% of FMCDs were the highest level of leadership responsible for stopping use of a community preceptor. Regarding their comfort level in resolving mistreatment reports, 59.1% of FMCDs were either somewhat or very comfortable resolving a mistreatment report about a community preceptor, while only 48.9% reported those comfort levels for full-time faculty. FMCDs who had previously stopped using full-time faculty and/or community preceptors due to mistreatment reports were less likely to feel comfortable with resolving reports about full-time faculty compared to those who had no such experience (P=.03).

Conclusions: FMCDs more frequently receive mistreatment reports about community preceptors than full-time faculty and are more likely to be the highest decision maker to stop using a community preceptor for mistreatment concerns. Further study is needed to elucidate factors that affect FMCDs' comfort in handling student mistreatment reports.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship*
  • Family Practice / education
  • Humans
  • Physician Executives*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires