At almost any hospital residency program, you will have a mix of faculty with all different interests. Some like to teach and spend concerted time with the residents. In some more academic hospitals with residencies, other faculty want to pursue research areas. And then there is the final group that wants to put their energies into completing the day as quickly as possible and returning home to family without wasting time on other endeavors. So, today’s question is: should hospitals and practices with residency programs hire these non-teaching faculty if they have a residency program dedicated to teaching? To answer this question, let’s talk a little about the current hiring environment in radiology. And, then let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages practices and hospitals face when hiring non-teaching radiologists in the current climate. And finally, we will come up with a feasible conclusion.
The Current Hiring Background For Radiologists
We are in the midst of one of the most acute shortages for radiologists in 2022 as it stands right now. Even residents that have not completed their training receive solicitations for work. It is not uncommon for practice owners to cover unwanted shifts to ensure their practices run smoothly due to a lack of personnel. And, starting offers for new radiologists are robust. A “warm body” that can read and catch up on all studies is a treat for many sites. So, many practices can prevent a practice crisis if they hire radiologists to do the work but do not want to teach, but at what price?
Disadvantages To Hiring Non-Teaching Faculty At A Teaching Site
If They Don’t Have To Teach, Why Should I?
The biggest fear for a practice of mixed radiologists is the impression of inequity. When radiologists see that they can get away with less responsibility, you may hear the phrase “it’s not fair” bandied about. This unfairness leads to decreasing morale and radiologists thinking about leaving practice for greener fields elsewhere. This environment can be toxic even if you compensate faculty members for teaching.
Does Not Foster A Culture Of Inquiry
To create an excellent residency program, I like to say you need a culture of “why.” I love when my residents ask why about the reports, procedures, or protocols they see. It forces me to rethink my training and beliefs to analyze what we do “by rote’. And, it’s a great way to reinforce and learn new knowledge for attendings and residents. Disinterested attendings who do not participate can spoil this excellent learning environment.
Advantages To Hiring Non-Teaching Faculty At A Teaching Site
Free Up Teaching Faculty Who Want To Teach
If you can isolate the non-teaching faculty to rotations that do not involve teaching, you can allow the teaching radiologists to teach without the hindrance of backed-up work. Freeing faculty members who want to teach can theoretically improve the teaching faculty’s morale. However, the practice would need to decide on a protocol for which it will not degrade residency training.
Can Get More Work Done
You may have heard the adage, “a resident will slow you down.” Yes. There is some truth to that. It takes time to explain and go over dictations and give lectures. If you do not have these responsibilities, it is possible to plow through extra work throughout the day (perhaps with a headache!). Practices with some attendings that work without residents can theoretically accomplish more RVUs during the day.
Should Your Teaching Practice/Residency Program Hire Non-Teaching Faculty?
There is always more to a decision that might be easy at face value in a typical environment. New radiologists that do not teach can cause inequities and do not foster a teaching culture. Nevertheless, freeing up teaching faculty and getting the practice work completed is critical. So, if you see a new grumpy radiology hire that does not want to teach residents and is plowing through the cases, there is a good reason for that. Many practices are under duress to hire a body to fulfill the work of the business, not just to teach residents. However, programs that employ these radiologists must ensure they are not on teaching rotations to minimize conflicts. Instead, programs should make a concerted effort to plug in those attendings that want to teach to the divisions with the most exposure to residents. It may take a bit of adjustment on the part of the resident and the faculty until the radiology shortage resolves!