Context: Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM) has long maintained a preceptorship program involving community-based osteopathic physicians who voluntarily provide osteopathic medical students with early clinical experiences in family practice.
Objectives: To investigate the factors that influence osteopathic physicians to participate in the MSUCOM Family Medicine Preceptorship Program.
Methods: A self-administered survey consisting of 28 questions in five categories was mailed to all 177 osteopathic physicians participating in the MSUCOM Family Medicine Preceptorship Program.
Results: A total of 168 surveys reached potential respondents. Eighty-nine completed, legible surveys were returned, for a response rate of 53%. The most common reasons given for program participation were the desire to contribute to the medical education of students (99%), to provide “real-life” clinical experiences to students (78%), to share knowledge (72%), and to “give back” to the osteopathic medical profession (71%). A majority of respondents agreed that the preceptorship program would influence students’ specialty (96%) and internship choices (79%). Respondents also reported an expectation that their participation would lead to continuing medical education (CME) credit for clinical teaching (65%), opportunities for faculty development (28%) or research collaboration (17%), and professional recognition (12%).
Conclusions: The primary motivations for osteopathic physicians to participate in the MSUCOM Family Medicine Preceptorship Program are related to a personal sense of “giving back” to the osteopathic medical profession by contributing to the education of future physicians. In addition, the integrated relationship between volunteer preceptors and MSUCOM enriches professional opportunities for CME credit, faculty development, and other academic-related benefits.