Bioethics Blogs

Academic Medicine: In need of an examination?

Being a physician in an academic setting, my attention was drawn to this recent article in Academic Medicine: “Time Well Spent: The Association Between Time and Effort Allocation and Intent to Leave Among Clinical Faculty” by Pollart et al.

I had mixed gut reactions to this topic; ranging from the notion that this is an awesome topic long overdue for attention, to the questioning of why academia is spending its valuable time on such internally focused research.

But I found that there is a significant practical problem facing academic institutions that is driving this and similar research—the ongoing loss of experienced and capable faculty. What the study reports to have found is that the intent to leave an academic institution and academia in general was related mostly to the clinical staff’s impression as to whether the amount of time in a given area (clinical, research, teaching, administration) was too much or too little. The authors proposed that, “academic hospitals can work with individual faculty members to find the right mix of clinical, teaching and administrative responsibilities.” This seems simple enough, but do individual organizations have such flexibility? For example, very few said that they spent too much time in research (@ 1%); the dissatisfaction here was that too little time was spent. I suspect that the demands to produce revenue through clinical duties make it unlikely that all those desiring more time for research can be accommodated.

This first article then led me to a second in Academic Medicine, entitled “Why are a quarter of faculty considering leaving academic medicine?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.