An Integrated Career Coaching and Time Banking System Promoting Flexibility, Wellness, and Success: A Pilot Program at Stanford University School of Medicine

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Abstract

Faculty in academic medicine experience multiple demands on their time at work and at home, which can become a source of stress and dissatisfaction, compromising success. A taskforce convened to diagnose the state of work-life flexibility at Stanford University School of Medicine uncovered two major sources of conflict for faculty: work-life conflict, caused by juggling demands of career and home, and work-work conflict, caused by competing priorities of the tripartite research, teaching, and clinical mission of an academic medical center combined with service and administrative tasks. Using human-centered design research principles, the 2013–2014 Academic Biomedical Career Customization (ABCC) pilot program incorporated two elements to mitigate work-life and work-work conflict: integrated career-life planning: coaching to create a customized plan to meet both career and life goals; and a time-banking system: recognizing behaviors that promote team success with benefits that mitigate work-life and work-work conflicts. A matched sample pre-post evaluation survey found the two-part program increased perceptions of a culture of flexibility (P = .020), wellness (P = .013), understanding of professional development opportunities (P = .036), and institutional satisfaction (P = .020) among participants. In addition, an analysis of research productivity indicated that over the two-year program, ABCC program participants received 1.3 more awards, on average, compared to a matched set of nonparticipants, a funding difference of approximately $1.1 million per person. These results suggest that it is possible to mitigate the effects of extreme time pressure on faculty at academic medical centers, even within existing institutional structures.

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