Do Academic Health Care Systems Really Value Education? A Survey of Academic Plastic Surgeons

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Abstract

Background:

Although education is critical to the mission of academic medical centers in the United States, it is often not quantified and monetized as are their research and clinical missions. We undertook this survey to assess the perceived valuation of educational endeavors of plastic surgeon faculty at the U.S. academic medical centers.

Methods:

A survey using Qualtrics software (Qualtrics, Provo, UT) was distributed to faculty members of the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons by electronic mail in February 2015. A total of 16 questions included both demographic information and Likert-item questions of perception of valuation of educational activities. For analysis, responses were grouped according to an adapted Net Promoter Score including “unsupportive” (0–6), “neutral” (7–8), and “supportive” (9–10).

Results:

Sixty-five surveys were completed out of a total of 406, with an overall response rate of 16%. Kruskal-Wallis statistical analysis demonstrated that region and rank were not significant in perception of hospital or departmental support for educational activities. Respondents rated their departments as more supportive than their institutions (P < 0.05), and average perceived value rating of institutions was “unsupportive.” Financial support was associated with higher ratings with respect to support of institutions and departments. Mid-career faculty displayed a trend toward lower ratings of perception of support.

Conclusions:

The majority of respondents perceived their institutions and departments as unsupportive of educational effort. Direct compensation to physicians for teaching efforts may improve faculty retention in academia and reduce physician burnout.

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