Background and objectives: The reasons why practicing physicians precept students in their offices, and the rewards they wish to receive for this work, have not been clearly elucidated. This study determined the reasons for precepting and the rewards expected among a network of preceptors in Milwaukee.
Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to 120 community-based physician preceptors in a required, third-year ambulatory care clerkship. Respondents were asked to identify why they volunteered and what they considered appropriate recognition or reward.
Results: The personal satisfaction derived from the student-teacher interaction was, by far, the most important motivator for preceptors (84%). The most preferred rewards for teaching included clinical faculty appointment, CME and bookstore discounts, computer networking, and workshops for improving skills in clinical teaching.
Conclusions: Community-based private physicians who participate in medical student education programs are primarily motivated by the personal satisfaction that they derive from the teaching encounter. An effective preceptor recognition/reward program can be developed using input from the preceptors themselves.