The purpose of this research was to investigate how COVID-19 has affected the professional outlook and future plans of family medicine educators. As part of the 2021 Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) Educational Research Alliance (CERA) survey, researchers polled 949 family medicine educators and practicing physicians. 

Recent changes to the educator’s employment that are seen as less enjoyable (P <.001, OR = 1.31) are linked with changes in career thinking, as shift in emphasis away from work (P <.001, OR = 2.82), life priorities (P <.001, OR = 2.07), and personal circumstances (P <.001, OR = 1.31). Intentions to cut back on hours spent at work are linked to factors such as a belief that educators are treated fairly (P =.002, OR = 0.83), a shift in focus to interests outside of work (P =.003, OR = 1.29), a shift in priorities (P <.001, OR = 1.65) and recent, less satisfying modifications to the educator’s job (P <.001, OR = 1.26). Fair treatment (P <.001, OR = 0.81), shifting priorities (P <.001, OR = 1.31), less pleasurable recent job changes (P <.001, OR = 1.38), and increasing workload (P =.02, OR = 0.87) are all factors linked with higher consideration of a career change in the next 5 years. In addition, older individuals were more likely to plan on cutting back on their hours (P <.001, OR = 1.05) and think they’ll be doing something else in 5 years (P <.001, OR = 1.04). In contrast, reorientations of professional focus were more common among women (P =.02, OR = 1.42). 

This research suggests that the pandemic has had a major effect on the professional outlook and goals of family medicine instructors. There could be long-term repercussions in terms of their outlook on and approach to their professional lives. To grasp the full import of these results, further study is required. Employers should also evaluate the potential impact of such shifts on various educator subgroups and respond accordingly in areas such as recruiting and retention.