Factors that influence career progression among postdoctoral clinical academics: a scoping review of the literature

Article English OPEN
Ranieri, V. ; Barratt, H. ; Fulop, N. ; Rees, G. (2016)
  • Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group

Background: The future of academic medicine is uncertain. Concerns regarding the future availability of qualified and willing trainee clinical academics have been raised worldwide. Of significant concern is our failure to retain postdoctoral trainee clinical academics, who are likely to be our next generation of leaders in scientific discovery. / Objectives: To review the literature about factors that may influence postdoctoral career progression in early career clinical academics. / Design: This study employed a scoping review method. Three reviewers separately assessed whether the articles found fit the inclusion criteria. / Data sources: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar (1991–2015). / Article selection: The review encompassed a broad search of English language studies published anytime up to November 2015. All articles were eligible for inclusion, including research papers employing either quantitative or qualitative methods, as well as editorials and other summary articles. / Data extraction: Data extracted from included publications were charted according to author(s), sample population, study design, key findings, country of origin and year of publication. / Results: Our review identified 6 key influences: intrinsic motivation, work–life balance, inclusiveness, work environment, mentorship and availability of funding. It also detected significant gaps within the literature about these influences. / Conclusions: Three key steps are proposed to help support postdoctoral trainee clinical academics. These focus on ensuring that researchers feel encouraged in their workplace, involved in collaborative dialogue with key stakeholders and able to access reliable information regarding their chosen career pathway. Finally, we highlight recommendations for future research.
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