A qualitative study of the intrinsic motivation of physicians and other health professionals to teach

Lukas Lochner1, Heike Wieser2 and Maria Mischo-Kelling2

1Teaching Support Office, Claudiana- College of Health- Care Professions, Italy

2Research Unit, Claudiana - College of Health - Care Professions, Italy

Submitted: 20/07/2012; Accepted: 27/10/2012; Published: 05/11/2012

Int J Med Educ. 2012; 3:209-215; doi: 10.5116/ijme.508b.98aa

© 2012 Lukas Lochner et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To explore the intrinsic motivation of physicians and other health professionals to teach.

Methods: Qualitative data from in-depth interviews were thematically analysed. A purposive opportunity sample of eight physicians and other healthcare professionals employed by our institution to teach Bachelor-level courses in health care participated in the study.

Results: Four themes that suggested an internal desire to teach were identified: 1. Interest in the subject matter; 2. Interest in the students' development; 3. Interest in establishing rapport; and 4. Importance of students' feedback. Participants reported a strong interest in their field of practice and the subject matter of their instruction; they enjoyed their own learning while teaching. They stated an internal desire to impart knowledge for its own sake and showed concern for the effectiveness of their teaching. They also described a strong desire to establish teacher-student rapport and reported that feedback from students was crucial in maintaining their motivation to teach.

Conclusions: This study has addressed a topic where research-based knowledge is limited: the intrinsic motiva-tion to teach. The findings contribute to a deeper under-standing of the internal desire of health professionals to engage in teaching and constitute a starting point for developing further research to explore these processes more fully. We believe that a better understanding of the factors that enhance a teacher's motivation can help to optimise educational environments.