How to Keep Teaching Faculty Happy

Julie McCoy , July 23, 2009

As reimbursements decrease and department budgets are slashed, hospital leaders may want to work a little harder to ensure teaching faculty members are still feeling fulfilled.

If faculty members leave, not only will you be faced with the cost of recruiting new physicians, but residency and fellowship accreditation may be jeopardized. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has standards for how many teaching faculty are sufficient to teach and provide supervision to trainees. Additionally, an insufficient number of faculty members can lead to other accreditation red flags, such as inadequate number of patient cases for residents to participate in and a lack of evaluation and feedback.

The issue for hospital leaders is that faculty dissatisfaction may not always be obvious. Disgruntled faculty members won't throw up their hands and stop caring for patients. Instead, they're more likely to find little ways to express their frustrations, says Barbara Schuster, MD, MACP, campus dean of the Medical College of Georgia and University of Georgia Partnership Medical Campus in Athens.

According to Schuster, faculty members usually show their discontent by missing meetings and deadlines, and showing a general disregard for their teaching responsibilities.

If you notice these behaviors, have a conversation with the faculty members involved before their poor behavior escalates and formal action needs to be taken. If you deal with their actions early on, a casual conversation can typically solve problems. Do not approach faculty members in an accusatory manner. You're more likely to find a solution when faculty members perceive concern rather than criticism, Schuster explains.

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