Recruitment and Retention of Community Preceptors


Recruiting and retaining community-based pediatricians for teaching medical students has been explored through the lens of preceptors and educational leaders. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspective of pediatric department chairs, a key stakeholder group charged with maintaining teaching capacity among a faculty.


In 2015, members of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs and Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics joint task force disseminated a 20-item survey to pediatric department chairs in the United States and Canada. Topics included demographics, incentives offered to community pediatricians, and the perceived value and feasibility of such incentives. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and 2 to compare categorical variables.


Pediatric department chairs from 92 of 145 (63% response rate) medical schools returned the survey. Sixty-seven percent reported difficulty recruiting or retaining preceptors, and 51% reported high-reliance on preceptors for the ambulatory portion of the pediatrics clerkship. Almost all (92%) cited competition from other programs for the services of community preceptors. The provision of incentives was correlated with perceived feasibility (R2 = 0.65) but not their perceived value (R2 = 0.12). Few (21%) chairs reported providing financial compensation to preceptors. The provision of compensation was not related to reliance but did vary significantly by geographical region (P < .001).


Pediatric departments rely heavily on community-based pediatricians but face competition from internal and external training programs. The perspective of department chairs is valuable in weighing interventions to facilitate continued recruitment and retention of community preceptors.

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