Faculty professionalism and education survey that has been utilized in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Iowa. This 17-item survey is filled out by residents annually
There are many, and oftentimes conflicting, demands placed upon academic orthopedic surgeons. On the one hand being a good educator can be extremely rewarding, but at other times it can lead to or feel like an inefficient use of valuable time. How then do we motivate educational initiatives and performance? Rewards, recognition, and even small financial incentives for performance can help to motivate faculty and emphasize the importance of the educational mission. Departments should be open and transparent about the educational expectations and opportunities within their unique environments. Our department has developed, maintained, and modified an educational scorecard for faculty that highlights the importance of many things that are considered to be valuable within our educational environment. It is based on a point system for various educational activities (Fig. 10.2). It may also be used to determine which faculty may be best suited to work with residents, and those who would be better suited to work independently. This is often a motivating incentive but can potentially lead to a restriction of resident-faculty interactions if warranted.
(a) Spreadsheet noting activities recorded in an educational scorecard. (b) Chart representing the spectrum of faculty performances utilizing an educational scorecard at our institution
The Role of Mentorship
The importance of mentorship of young faculty cannot be overstated. Mentoring may be defined as a relationship, formal or informal, between a novice and one or more senior persons in the field for the purposes of career and personal development and preparation for leadership . While relatively few studies have specifically looked at mentorship in orthopedics several themes do recur. For younger faculty members it is important that there is an understanding of the departmental practices and norms. In other words, what are the expectations of good educational “citizenship” within a department? For many it may seem like the answer to this question would be obvious; however be the complexities of a busy academic orthopedic department the opportunities and expectations can be extremely variable. For example: How does one balance a busy adult reconstruction practice with demands for didactic instruction for the college of medicine? This is just one example of a myriad of trade-offs that a junior faculty member may encounter. Advice on how to incorporate residents into surgical cases, how to balance education with practice efficiency, and how to teach in clinic are examples of activities where open discussion with a senior mentor can be very valuable. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the mentor–mentee relationship is the usefulness of feedback. While feedback can take many forms, from formalized annual or semiannual reporting to critical appraisal of research or academic pursuits, the genuine commitment of the mentor to the development of the mentee is paramount to success.
Stages of a Career
Faculty members at a teaching institution typically emphasize and focus on different things during different stages of their career. As a career progresses, a faculty member’s practice focus may narrow and their referral base increase. Time spent on research may be more or less at different times during a career. Faculty members may evolve into leadership roles either locally at the medical center or in national organizations. However, a focus on education must span all these stages of a career. Early in their career faculty identify their roles in the department. They need to develop teaching materials to deliver conferences and case-based sessions. This is a good time for them to become engaged in the overall educational program of the department by becoming a member of education committees. Program Evaluation Committee and Clinical Competency Committee often need willing and hardworking new faculty members. Most programs will have one or both of a resident selection committee or resident research committee. Medical school curriculum and selection committees are time consuming but may be rewarding. It is during this time that mentorship is most important. The chairman, program director, or other senior faculty member should fill this role.