• Why do Physicians Volunteer at Medical Schools and Free Clinics?

      Eid, Tarek; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Briney, Stephanie (The University of Arizona., 2018-03-28)
      Purpose To understand the reasons why physicians volunteer their time to provide healthcare to the uninsured and to educate future physicians. Another goal is to define the barriers that prevent physicians from volunteering. Background Physician volunteers play an integral role in educating medical students and providing health care to the uninsured. Therefore, understanding the reasons why physicians volunteer their time can possibly improve recruitment procedures. It may help clinics and medical schools advertise to prospective volunteer physicians by emphasizing the positives and directly addressing the main concerns in volunteering. Materials and Methods A survey was distributed to physicians from multiple specialties who work at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Banner University Medical Center – Phoenix. The survey consisted of questions regarding physicians’ background information, volunteer experience, barriers to volunteerism, and motivation behind their volunteerism. Motivation was evaluated utilizing a validated and widely used survey called the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI). Results A total of 100 physicians responded to the survey. 84% of physicians cited “lack of time” as being the primary barrier to volunteerism. 25% and 22% of the physicians cited “Financial Costs” and “Unaware of Opportunity” as barriers, respectively. With respect to VIF components, the “Values” category showed the highest score of 30.38 out of a possible 35 ,while “career factors” observed the lowest score of 14.09 Conclusions Medical schools and clinics could possibly improve their recruitment efforts by making it less time consuming for physicians to volunteer and by minimizing the financial costs to physicians. They could also benefit by advertising the altruistic and humanitarian nature of the volunteer activity.