Predictors of early faculty attrition at one Academic Medical Center
- Equal contributors
1 Department of Anesthesiology and Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
2 Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
3 Office of Faculty Affairs, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
4 Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado, USA
5 Department of Emergency Medicine and Medicine, Office of Faculty Affairs, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado, USA
BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:27 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-27Published: 10 February 2014
Faculty turnover threatens the research, teaching and clinical missions of medical schools. We measured early attrition among newly-hired medical school faculty and identified personal and institutional factors associated with early attrition.
This retrospective cohort study identified faculty hired during the 2005–2006 academic year at one school. Three-year attrition rates were measured. A 40-question electronic survey measured demographics, career satisfaction, faculty responsibilities, institutional/departmental support, and reasons for resignation. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95% CI) identified variables associated with early attrition.
Of 139 faculty, 34% (95% CI = 26-42%) resigned within three years of hire. Attrition was associated with: perceived failure of the Department Chair to foster a climate of teaching, research, and service (OR = 6.03; 95% CI: 1.84, 19.69), inclusiveness, respect, and open communication (OR = 3.21; 95% CI: 1.04, 9.98). Lack of professional development of the faculty member (OR = 3.84; 95% CI: 1.25, 11.81); institutional recognition and support for excellence in teaching (OR = 2.96; 95% CI: 0.78, 11.19) and clinical care (OR = 3.87; 95% CI: 1.04, 14.41); and >50% of professional time devoted to patient care (OR = 3.93; 95% CI: 1.29, 11.93) predicted attrition. Gender, race, ethnicity, academic degree, department type and tenure status did not predict early attrition. Of still-active faculty, an additional 27 (48.2%, 95% CI: 35.8, 61.0) reported considering resignation within the 5 years.
In this pilot study, one-third of new faculty resigned within 3 years of hire. Greater awareness of predictors of early attrition may help schools identify threats to faculty career satisfaction and retention.