Clear and effective communication can go a long way to satisfy both the medical program’s needs and those of the faculty members, who need support from the chair and medical school.
Reviewed by Vivek R. Patel, MD
In an ideal world, all faculty members are equally motivated. They all want to teach, and teaching is a clear part of the job description. In the real world, however, faculty members are not motivated by the same things.
The reasons for being in academia vary widely, and expectations and feedback are not always clearly communicated, according to Vivek R. Patel, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, director of the Neuro-Ophthalmology Service, and director of education at the University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles.
“Faculty members are not born challenging,” he said.
This can occur as a result of competing demands of the institution and the individual.
Program expectations include good supervisory coverage for all sites, dedicated teachers, didactic curriculum champions, help with surgical curricula, mentors (research, clinical and personal) for residents, managing residents’ expectations, and satisfying Graduate Medical Education and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements, Dr. Patel explained.
In contrast, faculty members have their own set of needs, including clinical demands, financial productivity, research goals, managing patients’ expectations, and academic development.
Barriers to successfully meshing the complex list of needs include limited time, the requirement to fulfill roles for which faculty members are not necessarily motivated, and the lack of acknowledgement or incentive to contribute to education.
Dr. Patel emphasized that faculty members feel stretched to their limits balancing competing responsibilities.
“Not every role is equally interesting to everyone, and a lack of incentive is an important problem to address as medical school educators,” he said.
To deal with the challenges that can arise today, there are several principles to live by.
Vivek R. Patel, MD
E: [email protected] Dr. Patel has no financial interest in any aspect of this report.