Exiting Medicine Faculty Want the Organizational Culture and Climate to Change. Academic Article uri icon


  • National data indicate about 50% of junior faculty leave a School of Medicine (SOM) within eight years of hire. The long-term goal of the study was to determine innovative strategies for promoting SOM faculty retention. The study objective was to determine factors influencing SOM faculty to exit, and what would encourage them to stay or return. All faculty exiting the University of New Mexico (UNM) SOM were surveyed and their responses analyzed to the following items: (a) If something could have been done differently that might have resulted in staying at UNM, what would it have been? (b) What would need to change at UNM SOM for you to return? and (c) general comments offered. Qualitative analysis of open-ended responses used an iterative process and systematic thematic approach and NVivo software. 173 faculty respondents surveyed between July 2017 and June 2019 included 86 women, 33 non-Caucasians, and 14 Hispanics. A total of 110 faculty reported an MD degree and 117 were assistant professors. Seventy-eight faculty were on clinician educator track. The 367 responses to the three questions were categorized into 10 themes. The most common themes included (a) people (leadership and others) and workplace culture (25.1% of responses); (b) extent of career support and resources (15.3%); (c) organizational systems and administration (13.6%); and (d) faculty feelings of autonomy and value (10.9%). Exiting faculty frequently discussed the need for a change of leadership and changes in organizational climate and culture, which may have influenced their willingness to stay or to return to UNM SOM. To retain faculty, SOM leaders need to strengthen and/or modify organizational climate and culture components. Innovative strategies for this purpose may include organizational interventions followed by evidence-based leadership training programs, and the use of exit surveys for monitoring interventions.

publication date

  • December 2020