Preparation Time for Preclinical Pathology Educational Activities in Medical Schools: a Survey of Pathology Educators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Productivity accounting in academic medicine is increasingly important. Accounting for educational effort has traditionally been difficult. In preclinical teaching, preparation often represents the bulk of invested time and usually exceeds the number of contact hours. Inclusion of this variable is inconsistently used by institutions for calculating workload. The objective of this study was to assess North American pathology educators’ preparatory time for various activities and determined what factors impact self-reporting. Pathology teachers completed a web-based survey asking about the number of hours of preparatory time needed for different activities, their educational experience, job duties, demographic information, and use of computerized presentation software. A total of 114 responses were received. The distribution of reported hours for each activity was right skewed. There was marked variation in the responses with the coefficients of variation exceeding 70% for all activities. The median preparation times were as follows: new lecture, laboratory, and problem based learning case-10 hours; updating an existing lecture-2.5 hours; updating laboratories-8 hours; preparing small group exercises-8 hours; and updating small group exercises-2 hours. Experience and job description did not significantly impact the hours reported for nearly all activities, although a tendency for higher values to be seen in those teaching pathology for 5–10 years and giving more than 5 lectures annually. The results confirm that preparation makes up the majority of effort invested in teaching pathology to preclinical students and productivity accounting should likely include these hours. None of the examined educators’ characteristics seem to significantly alter the amount of reported preparatory time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Pathology
  • Preparation time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Preparation Time for Preclinical Pathology Educational Activities in Medical Schools: a Survey of Pathology Educators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this