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How Full Is Your Tank? A Qualitative Exploration of Faculty Volunteerism in a National Professional Development Program.

  • Turner, Teri L1
  • Zenni, Elisa A2
  • Balmer, Dorene F3
  • Lane, J Lindsey4
  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza and Texas Children's Hospital (TL Turner), Houston, Tex; Center for Research, Innovation, and Scholarship in Medical Education, Texas Children's Hospital (TL Turner), Houston, Tex. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville (EA Zenni).
  • 3 Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (DF Balmer).
  • 4 Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children's Hospital Colorado (JL Lane), Aurora, Colo.
Published Article
Academic pediatrics
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2020.06.140
PMID: 32619544


Professional development programs (PDPs) within academic professional organizations rely on faculty volunteers, but little is known about the volunteering process and experience. Our aim was to gain insights into the initial decision to volunteer, the experience of volunteering and the decision to re-volunteer or not (ie, remain or leave as a volunteer). The study setting was a PDP of the Academic Pediatric Association, the Educational Scholars Program. In 2014, 13 Educational Scholars Program faculty members participated in semistructured phone interviews. The authors performed a general inductive analysis of the data, inductively created codes, and analyzed coded data for emergent themes that led to the creation of a model for recruiting and sustaining volunteers. Four themes related to the initial volunteer decision and the decision to re-volunteer or not (self-interest and altruism, reputation of the program, relevant skill set, and doability), and 4 themes related to the experience of volunteering (emotional impact, career advancement and professional recognition, professional growth, and doability) emerged. The relationship among the themes led to the creation of a model of volunteering, involving a metaphorical volunteerism "tank" that is full when faculty initially volunteer and subsequently fills or empties as a result of dynamic interplay between the themes for each individual. Leaders of PDPs may find our model of volunteering beneficial for enhancing the emotional and tangible benefits and minimizing the logistical issues of volunteering. This information should contribute to success in recruiting and retaining the volunteers who are essential for developing and sustaining PDPs. Copyright © 2020 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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