Satisfaction, Motivation, and Future of Community Preceptors: What Are the Current Trends?

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To measure overall satisfaction of community-based preceptors, their anticipated likelihood of continuing to teach, professional satisfaction, influence of having students, motivation for teaching, satisfaction with professional practice, and satisfaction with and value of incentives, and to compare results with those of a similar 2005 statewide survey.


In 2011, the authors distributed a 25-item survey to all 2,359 community-based primary care preceptors (physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants) served by the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers system’s Offices of Regional Primary Care Education. The survey targeted the same items and pool of eligible respondents as did the North Carolina Area Health Education Center 2005 Preceptor Survey.


Of 2,359 preceptors contacted, 1,278 (54.2%) completed questionnaires. The data from 2011 did not differ significantly from the 2005 data. In 2011, respondents were satisfied with precepting (91.7%), anticipated continuing to precept for the next five years (88.7%), and were satisfied overall with their professional life (93.7%). Intrinsic reasons (e.g., enjoyment of teaching) remained an important motivation for teaching students. Physicians reported significantly lower overall satisfaction with extrinsic incentives (e.g., monetary compensation) and felt more negativity about the influence of students on their practices.


This study found that preceptors continue to be satisfied with teaching students. Intrinsic reasons remain an important motivation to precept, but monetary compensation may have increasing importance. Physicians responded more negatively than other health provider groups to several questions, suggesting that their needs might be better met by redesigned teaching models.

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