Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the career thinking and work intentions of GP teachers

The aim of this study was to examine how COVID-19 has affected the professional outlook and future plans of educators in family medicine. As part of the 2021 Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) Educational Research Alliance (CERA) survey, researchers surveyed 949 family physicians and practicing physicians.

Recent changes in the educator’s job that are perceived as less enjoyable (P < .001, OR = 1.31) are associated with changes in career thinking, such as shifts in emphasis away from work (P < .001, OR = 2.82), life priorities (P < .001, OR = 2.07), and personal circumstances (P <.001, OR = 1.31). Intentions to reduce hours at work are related to factors such as beliefs that educators are treated fairly (P =.002, OR = 0.83), a shift in focus to interests outside work (P =.003, OR = 1.29), a shift in priorities (P < .001, OR = 1.65) and recent less satisfactory changes in the educator's work (P <.001, OR = 1.26). fair treatment (P < .001, OR = 0.81), shifting priorities (P < .001, OR = 1.31), less enjoyable recent job changes (P < .001, OR = 1.38), and increasing workload (P = 0.02, OR = 0.87) are all factors associated with a higher consideration of a career change in the next 5 years. In addition, older persons were more likely to plan to work fewer hours (P <.001, OR = 1.05) and think they will be doing something different in 5 years (P <.001, OR = 1.04). In contrast, reorientations of professional focus were more common in women (P =.02, OR = 1.42).

This research suggests that the pandemic has had a major effect on the professional outlook and goals of family medicine instructors. There may be long-term implications for their outlook and approach to their professional lives. To understand the full significance of these results, further research is required. Employers also need to evaluate the potential impact of such shifts on different subgroups of educators and respond accordingly in areas such as recruitment and retention.


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