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There is discontent and turnover among faculty at US academic health centers because of the challenges in balancing clinical, research, teaching, and work–life responsibilities in the current healthcare environment. One potential strategy to improve faculty satisfaction and limit turnover is through faculty mentoring programs.
A Mentor Leadership Council was formed to design and implement an institution-wide faculty mentoring program across all colleges at an academic health center. The authors conducted an experimental study of the impact of the mentoring program using pre-intervention (2011) and 6-year (2017) post-intervention faculty surveys that measured the long-term effectiveness of the program.
The percent of faculty who responded to the surveys was 45.9% (656/1428) in 2011 and 40.2% (706/1756) in 2017. For faculty below the rank of full professor, percent of faculty with a mentor (45.3% vs. 67.1%, P < 0.001), familiarity with promotion criteria (81.7% vs. 90.0%, P = 0.001), and satisfaction with department’s support of career (75.6% vs. 84.7%, P = 0.002) improved. The percent of full professors serving as mentors also increased from 50.3% in 2011 to 68.0% in 2017 (P = 0.002). However, the percent of non-retiring faculty considering leaving the institution over the next 2 years increased from 18.8% in 2011 to 24.3% in 2017 (P = 0.02).
Implementation of an institution-wide faculty mentoring program significantly improved metrics of career development and faculty satisfaction but was not associated with a reduction in the percent of faculty considering leaving the institution. This suggests the need for additional efforts to identify and limit factors driving faculty turnover.
Most patients diagnosed with lung cancer present with advanced stage disease and have a poor chance of long-term survival. Despite the advantages of hospice care for lung cancer patients, many are enrolled late in the course of their illness or not at all. We sought to identify reasons for this pattern.
A list of perceived barriers to hospice enrollment was generated and used to create two self-administered surveys, one for physicians and one for caregivers. After focus group testing, the finalized instruments were mailed to physicians in South Carolina and to caregivers of lung cancer patients who died under hospice care with a local hospice between 2000 and 2004.
Fifty-three caregivers and 273 physicians responded to the survey. From the caregivers' perspectives, leading reasons for deferred hospice enrollment included patients' unanticipated rapid transition from well to sick and a belief that hospice means giving up hope. From the physicians' perspectives, impediments to earlier hospice enrollment included patients and caregivers overestimating survival from lung cancer and an (incorrect) assumption that patients need to be “DNR/DNI” prior to hospice enrollment.
Significance of results:
Lung cancer patients may benefit from earlier introduction to the concepts of hospice care and more education regarding prognosis so that an easier transition in goals of care could be achieved. A smaller proportion of lung cancer patients may benefit from earlier hospice enrollment.
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