Initial testing of an instrument to measure teacher identity in physicians

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Meyers Primary Care Institute; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Career Choice; Faculty, Medical; Female; Humans; Job Satisfaction; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Physicians; Questionnaires; Self Disclosure


Health Services Research | Medical Education | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: A previous study described 7 elements of teacher identity: intrinsic satisfaction from teaching, knowledge and skill about teaching, belonging to a community of teachers, receiving rewards for teaching, believing that being a doctor means being a teacher, feeling a responsibility to teach, and sharing clinical expertise.

PURPOSE: To conduct the initial testing of an instrument to measure the 7 elements of teacher identity in clinical educators and to consider the potential applications of such an instrument.

METHODS: A 37-item questionnaire was mailed to 153 preceptors of preclinical students. Categories reflected the elements of teacher identity listed here. Demographic data were collected. Means, alphas, ANOVAs, and paired t tests were calculated.

RESULTS: Of 153 preceptors, 127 (83%) completed the questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha for the overall scale and several subscales were high. Salaried physicians and those who had completed a faculty development program scored significantly higher on several subscales than physicians who volunteered to teach or who did not have faculty development.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence that teacher identity can be measured and that preceptors do not respond as a homogeneous group. Assessing teacher identity may be helpful to medical schools looking to identify and support physicians who teach.

DOI of Published Version



Starr S, Haley H-L, Mazor KM, Philbin M, Ferguson WJ, Quirk M. Development and testing of an instrument to measure teacher identity in physicians. Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2006;18:117-25. DOI: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1802_5

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Teaching and learning in medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID