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Coordinators’ Stress: Results of a National Survey. Kamela K. Scott, Ph.D. Kathy Garvin, CTAGME March 21, 2006. Purpose of Survey:. To identify common stressors to persons fulfilling the role of Program Coordinator To assess the work environments across programs both positive and negative

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coordinators stress results of a national survey

Coordinators’ Stress:Results of a National Survey

Kamela K. Scott, Ph.D.

Kathy Garvin, CTAGME

March 21, 2006

purpose of survey
Purpose of Survey:
  • To identify common stressors to persons fulfilling the role of Program Coordinator
  • To assess the work environments across programs both positive and negative
  • To discuss ways to address identified concerns in order to decrease experienced job-related stress and increase overall satisfaction
  • National survey on “Program Coordinators’ Satisfaction” was mailed to persons functioning currently in that role
  • Respondents’ were asked to complete the survey honestly and anonymously to promote full disclosure
  • Survey included 30 questions in likert format, with 10 questions added to delineate demographic data
  • Qualitative analysis of returned surveys was performed to identify common themes
sample questions
Sample Questions
  • “The current resident 80-hour workweek has not affected my work experience.”
  • “Communication within my program is satisfactory.”
  • “I frequently am responsible for tasks other than resident coordination.”
  • “I often feel I have to take too much work home with me daily.”
  • Response rate for this survey was 77%: 85 of 110 surveys were returned for analyses
  • Demographics were not reported for all
  • Responses were consistent for most questions, with some disparity noted with regard to job demands vs. compensation
  • Responses given in the “Comments” section detailed key issues of greatest concern
demographic data
Demographic Data
  • Setting: Community: 33

University: 27

Military: 4

  • Years in Position: Range = 2 mos. - 40 yrs.

Under 10 yrs.: 41

10-19 yrs.: 17

20 yrs. and over: 6

  • Assistant? Yes: 54

No: 13

demographic data con t
Demographic Data (con’t)
  • Educational Level: B.S. or B.A.: 17

Grad. Work: 3

A.A.: 14

Some College: 18

H.S. Diploma: 7

Business Degree: 1

Other: 2

demographic data con t1
Demographic Data (con’t)
  • Manage more than one program? Yes: 5

No: 13

  • # of residents managed: Range = 10-180

Under 20: 22

20-39: 20

> 40: 18

  • Respondents’ Ages: 20-29: 2 30-39: 18

40-49: 15 50-59: 25

60-69: 5

what is your exact title
Surgery Program Manager

Residency Coordinator

Marketing, Residency and Recruitment Coordinator

Program Supervisor

Program Assistant

Residency Coordinator/Manager

Unit Coordinator


Residency/CME Coordinator

Administrative Secretary

Program Coordinator

Office Supervisor/Sr. Program Coordinator

Educational Coordinator

ATLS Coordinator

Medical Education Program Specialist

Graduate Education Coordinator

Administrative Assistant

Residency Training Assistant

Manager, Graduate Medical Ed.

What is your exact Title???
what exactly do you do

Students and faculty needs

Accounts payable

Orientation and graduation for other programs

Secretarial support

Travel arrangements for faculty

Call schedules

Coordinator for national/regional meetings


Website Coordination

Organize and plan Dept. functions


Office supervision

Research and skill lab needs

Answer Dept. phones


Counselor and therapist

What exactly do you DO???
results of qualitative analysis
Results of Qualitative Analysis
  • Jury is still out regarding impact of the

80-hour work week

  • Some disparity noted in overall supervision received, initial training/orientation, overall job scope, amount of work taken home, and conflicts with others at work
  • Broad disparity regarding satisfaction with salary and fringe benefits packages
results of the comments section
Results of the “Comments” Section
  • Comments echoed themes identified in the survey analysis as “hot points,” i.e. job scope, workload, supervision, conflicts
  • Comments also revealed additional “hot points” not tapped into by survey, i.e. workload vs. support vs. salary, overall respect for the position, and personnel issues
responsibilities support salary
Responsibilities, Support, Salary?
  • “the job has grown tremendously… with the same amount of staff support”
  • “…students at all times, many schedules to manage on top of residency, but no assistance…”
  • “too much work and responsibility for the pay”
  • “the pay is not commensurate with all the responsibility and stress that come along with deadlines, not to mention the future career of a surgeon…”
  • “I do an excessive amount of overtime, work at home, for which I am not compensated…”
respect for the coordinators position
Respect for the Coordinators’ Position
  • “no recognition for all that we do… viewed as a secretary”
  • “the Program Director may not realize you know your job… constantly looks over your shoulder and/or tries to tell you what to do when you have been doing it for years”
  • “today’s coordinator should be judged as a manager who multi-tasks, endures stress, and can be relied upon to maintain the integrity of the program”
personnel and personalities
Personnel and Personalities!
  • “…coping with surgical personalities and the often harsh surgical culture…”
  • “dealing with the inefficiencies of working in a large bureaucracy and trying to work with others who are not qualified…”
  • “the frustration level for what we do is exceptionally high, especially considering we work with surgeons (Type A personalities)…”
  • “…having a non-physician manager to report to who does not understand the job and micromanages”
  • “students and residents… they are very needy!”
summary what does this tell us
Summary: What Does This Tell Us?
  • Job scope and role of the Program Coordinator must be well-defined across programs
  • Title needs to be consistent to promote understanding of and respect for the position
  • Salaries need to reflect the workload and responsibilities
  • Sizes of programs should realistically dictate support provided to the Program Coordinator
future directions
Future Directions
  • Results of this study support the institution of and recognition for the CTAGME, with maintenance certifications in accordance with ACGME requirement changes.
  • Further evaluation is needed regarding the specific matrix of workload by support by salary, to delineate equitable salaries and support across programs.
  • ARCS should be utilized as the forum for professional and emotional support – only those currently functioning in the role understand the stressors. Communication exchange is essential!