A Novel Service-Oriented Professional Development Program for Research Assistants at an Academic Hospital: A Web-Based Survey

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A Novel Service-Oriented Professional Development Program for Research Assistants at an Academic Hospital: A Web-Based Survey

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Title: A Novel Service-Oriented Professional Development Program for Research Assistants at an Academic Hospital: A Web-Based Survey
Author: Kitts, Robert Li; Koleoglou, Kyle John; Holland, Jennifer Elysia; Hutchinson, Eliza Haapaniemi; Nang, Quincy Georgdie; Mehta, Clare Marie; Tran, Chau Minh; Fishman, Laurie Newman

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Citation: Kitts, Robert Li, Kyle John Koleoglou, Jennifer Elysia Holland, Eliza Haapaniemi Hutchinson, Quincy Georgdie Nang, Clare Marie Mehta, Chau Minh Tran, and Laurie Newman Fishman. 2015. “A Novel Service-Oriented Professional Development Program for Research Assistants at an Academic Hospital: A Web-Based Survey.” JMIR Medical Education 1 (2): e13. doi:10.2196/mededu.4576. http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/mededu.4576.
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Abstract: Background: Research assistants (RAs) are hired at academic centers to staff the research and quality improvement projects that advance evidence-based medical practice. Considered a transient population, these young professionals may view their positions as stepping-stones along their path to graduate programs in medicine or public health. Objective: To address the needs of these future health professionals, a novel program—Program for Research Assistant Development and Achievement (PRADA)—was developed to facilitate the development of desirable professional skill sets (ie, leadership, teamwork, communication) through participation in peer-driven service and advocacy initiatives directed toward the hospital and surrounding communities. The authors hope that by reporting on the low-cost benefits of the program that other institutions might consider the utility of implementing such a program and recognize the importance of acknowledging the professional needs of the next generation of health care professionals. Methods: In 2011, an anonymous, Web-based satisfaction survey was distributed to the program membership through a pre-established email distribution list. The survey was used to evaluate demographics, level of participation and satisfaction with the various programming, career trajectory, and whether the program's goals were being met. Results: Upon the completion of the survey cycle, a 69.8% (125/179) response rate was achieved with the majority of respondents (94/119, 79.0%) reporting their 3-year goal to be in medical school (52/119, 43.7%) or nonmedical graduate school (42/119, 35.3%). Additionally, most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that PRADA had made them feel more a part of a research community (88/117, 75.2%), enhanced their job satisfaction (66/118, 55.9%), and provided career guidance (63/117, 53.8%). Overall, 85.6% of respondents (101/118) agreed or strongly agreed with recommending PRADA to other research assistants. Conclusions: High response rate and favorable outlook among respondents indicate that the program had been well received by the program's target population. The high percentage of respondents seeking short-term entry into graduate programs in health care-related fields supports the claim that many RAs may see their positions as stepping-stones and therefore could benefit from a professional development program such as the one described herein. Strong institutional support and sustainable growth and participation are other indications of early success. Further evaluation is necessary to assess the full impact of the program, particularly in areas such as job satisfaction, recruitment, retention, productivity, and career trajectory, but also in reproducibility in other institutions.
Published Version: doi:10.2196/mededu.4576
Other Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5041349/pdf/
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:29408261
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