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Career Development Strategies for the Clinical Educator.

Abstract

Over the past several decades, fewer faculty members at American medical schools have engaged in an equally balanced portfolio of clinical, research, and education efforts, and increasing numbers of faculty members have become more differentiated into physician-scientists or clinician-educators. Career paths among clinician-educators are quite variable, and aspiring clinician-educators are frequently unsure of how to maximize their chances for success in a clinician-educator academic pathway. In the author's opinion, the aspiring clinician-educator should seek to develop their skill set in four main areas. First, they must develop, become respected for, and maintain their clinical expertise, ideally becoming their institution's go-to person when those issues either arise clinically or require teaching to a group of learners. Second, they must actively work to develop outstanding teaching skills so that they can excel in teaching in a variety of formats, including lectures, small-group facilitation, and bedside instruction delivered in the context of clinical care. This generally requires engagement with faculty development programs both inside and outside one's institution. Third, the aspiring clinician-educator needs to develop the skills necessary to support ongoing scholarly activities, either in the educational realm or in their clinical focus. Finally, because most successful clinician-educators are thrust into leadership positions of some type, either in medical school courses or clerkships, residency or fellowship training programs, or for clinical programs of the division, department, or health system, the aspiring clinician-educator needs to develop as a competent administrator, seeking additional leadership training if possible.

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