Participation in medical college activities: a case study of the Australasian experience Academic Article uri icon


  • Medical Colleges rely on the volunteer labour of their Fellows to undertake their key functions. In the Australasian context, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that Fellow participation is declining. The purpose of this paper is to examine the main factors that influence Fellows' participation in the activities of a Medical College.The authors conducted three focus groups with Fellows who exhibit varying levels of participation with the Medical College in 2012.The research identified individual and organisational factors which influence the propensity of Fellows to volunteer their time to the Medical College. At an individual level, Fellows cite a number of factors which motivate them to volunteer their time to the Medical College, including: altruistic reasons; giving back to the profession and community; and the benefits that Fellow's receive from their participation in College activities, including enhancing their status within the profession. However, Fellows also report issues of work-family integration, balancing Medical College and work-related responsibilities as factors precluding them from participating in Medical College activities. Fellows also noted several factors related to the operation of the Medical College which inhibited their participation in the Medical College, including the perceived exclusivity of the Medical College, a lack of service orientation towards Fellows, a lack of recognition of the work of Fellows and a perceived lack of advocacy on the part of the Medical College.This paper highlights that the participation of Fellows in their Medical Colleges is essential to maintaining quality standards and the effective operation of Australasian healthcare. These preliminary results indicate that there are several factors which discourage Fellow participation in Medical College activities, suggesting a need for Medical Colleges to develop strategies to address these issues.

publication date

  • 2015