A survey of factors influencing career preference in new-entrant and exiting medical students from four UK medical schools

Jennifer A Cleland, Peter W Johnston, Michael Anthony, Nadir Khan, Neil W Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Workforce planning is a central issue for service provision and has consequences for medical education. Much work has been examined the career intentions, career preferences and career destinations of UK medical graduates but there is little published about medical students career intentions. How soon do medical students formulate careers intentions? How much do these intentions and preferences change during medical school? If they do change, what are the determining factors? Our aim was to compare medical students' career preferences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Two cohorts [2009-10, 2010-11] of first and final year medical students at the four Scottish graduating medical schools took part in career preference questionnaire surveys. Questions were asked about demographic factors, career preferences and influencing factors.

Results: The response rate was 80.9% [2682/3285]. Significant differences were found across the four schools, most obviously in terms of student origin [Scotland, rest of UK or overseas], age group, and specialty preferences in Year 1 and Year 5. Year 1 and Year 5 students' specialty preferences also differed within each school and, while there were some common patterns, each medical school had a different profile of students' career preferences on exit. When the analysis was adjusted for demographic and job-related preferences, specialty preferences differed by gender, and wish for work-life balance and intellectual satisfaction.

Conclusions: This is the first multi-centre study exploring students' career preferences and preference influences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes. We found various factors influenced career preference, confirming prior findings. What this study adds is that, while acknowledging student intake differs by medical school, medical school itself seems to influence career preference. Comparisons across medical school populations must therefore control for differences in input [the students] as well as context and process [the medical school] when looking at output [e.g., performance]. A robust, longitudinal study is required to explore how medical students' career preferences change as they progress through medical school and training to understand the influence of the learning environment on training choice and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • controllable life-style
  • specialty choice
  • general-surgery
  • practice location
  • surgical career
  • shortage
  • gender
  • perspectives
  • achievement
  • intentions

Cite this

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title = "A survey of factors influencing career preference in new-entrant and exiting medical students from four UK medical schools",
abstract = "Background: Workforce planning is a central issue for service provision and has consequences for medical education. Much work has been examined the career intentions, career preferences and career destinations of UK medical graduates but there is little published about medical students career intentions. How soon do medical students formulate careers intentions? How much do these intentions and preferences change during medical school? If they do change, what are the determining factors? Our aim was to compare medical students' career preferences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes.Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Two cohorts [2009-10, 2010-11] of first and final year medical students at the four Scottish graduating medical schools took part in career preference questionnaire surveys. Questions were asked about demographic factors, career preferences and influencing factors.Results: The response rate was 80.9{\%} [2682/3285]. Significant differences were found across the four schools, most obviously in terms of student origin [Scotland, rest of UK or overseas], age group, and specialty preferences in Year 1 and Year 5. Year 1 and Year 5 students' specialty preferences also differed within each school and, while there were some common patterns, each medical school had a different profile of students' career preferences on exit. When the analysis was adjusted for demographic and job-related preferences, specialty preferences differed by gender, and wish for work-life balance and intellectual satisfaction.Conclusions: This is the first multi-centre study exploring students' career preferences and preference influences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes. We found various factors influenced career preference, confirming prior findings. What this study adds is that, while acknowledging student intake differs by medical school, medical school itself seems to influence career preference. Comparisons across medical school populations must therefore control for differences in input [the students] as well as context and process [the medical school] when looking at output [e.g., performance]. A robust, longitudinal study is required to explore how medical students' career preferences change as they progress through medical school and training to understand the influence of the learning environment on training choice and outcomes.",
keywords = "controllable life-style, specialty choice, general-surgery, practice location, surgical career, shortage, gender, perspectives, achievement, intentions",
author = "Cleland, {Jennifer A} and Johnston, {Peter W} and Michael Anthony and Nadir Khan and Scott, {Neil W}",
note = "Our thanks to Professor Gillian Needham and Dr Murray Lough for their encouragement and support, and their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Our thanks also to NHS Education for Scotland [NES] for funding, and the Scottish Medical Deans Education Group [SMDEG] for supporting this project. We are grateful to all the students who gave their time to complete the survey questionnaire and to those who helped organise and carry out data collection.",
year = "2014",
month = "7",
day = "23",
doi = "10.1186/1472-6920-14-151",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
journal = "BMC Medical Education",
issn = "1472-6920",
publisher = "BioMed Central",

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T1 - A survey of factors influencing career preference in new-entrant and exiting medical students from four UK medical schools

AU - Cleland, Jennifer A

AU - Johnston, Peter W

AU - Anthony, Michael

AU - Khan, Nadir

AU - Scott, Neil W

N1 - Our thanks to Professor Gillian Needham and Dr Murray Lough for their encouragement and support, and their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Our thanks also to NHS Education for Scotland [NES] for funding, and the Scottish Medical Deans Education Group [SMDEG] for supporting this project. We are grateful to all the students who gave their time to complete the survey questionnaire and to those who helped organise and carry out data collection.

PY - 2014/7/23

Y1 - 2014/7/23

N2 - Background: Workforce planning is a central issue for service provision and has consequences for medical education. Much work has been examined the career intentions, career preferences and career destinations of UK medical graduates but there is little published about medical students career intentions. How soon do medical students formulate careers intentions? How much do these intentions and preferences change during medical school? If they do change, what are the determining factors? Our aim was to compare medical students' career preferences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes.Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Two cohorts [2009-10, 2010-11] of first and final year medical students at the four Scottish graduating medical schools took part in career preference questionnaire surveys. Questions were asked about demographic factors, career preferences and influencing factors.Results: The response rate was 80.9% [2682/3285]. Significant differences were found across the four schools, most obviously in terms of student origin [Scotland, rest of UK or overseas], age group, and specialty preferences in Year 1 and Year 5. Year 1 and Year 5 students' specialty preferences also differed within each school and, while there were some common patterns, each medical school had a different profile of students' career preferences on exit. When the analysis was adjusted for demographic and job-related preferences, specialty preferences differed by gender, and wish for work-life balance and intellectual satisfaction.Conclusions: This is the first multi-centre study exploring students' career preferences and preference influences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes. We found various factors influenced career preference, confirming prior findings. What this study adds is that, while acknowledging student intake differs by medical school, medical school itself seems to influence career preference. Comparisons across medical school populations must therefore control for differences in input [the students] as well as context and process [the medical school] when looking at output [e.g., performance]. A robust, longitudinal study is required to explore how medical students' career preferences change as they progress through medical school and training to understand the influence of the learning environment on training choice and outcomes.

AB - Background: Workforce planning is a central issue for service provision and has consequences for medical education. Much work has been examined the career intentions, career preferences and career destinations of UK medical graduates but there is little published about medical students career intentions. How soon do medical students formulate careers intentions? How much do these intentions and preferences change during medical school? If they do change, what are the determining factors? Our aim was to compare medical students' career preferences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes.Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Two cohorts [2009-10, 2010-11] of first and final year medical students at the four Scottish graduating medical schools took part in career preference questionnaire surveys. Questions were asked about demographic factors, career preferences and influencing factors.Results: The response rate was 80.9% [2682/3285]. Significant differences were found across the four schools, most obviously in terms of student origin [Scotland, rest of UK or overseas], age group, and specialty preferences in Year 1 and Year 5. Year 1 and Year 5 students' specialty preferences also differed within each school and, while there were some common patterns, each medical school had a different profile of students' career preferences on exit. When the analysis was adjusted for demographic and job-related preferences, specialty preferences differed by gender, and wish for work-life balance and intellectual satisfaction.Conclusions: This is the first multi-centre study exploring students' career preferences and preference influences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes. We found various factors influenced career preference, confirming prior findings. What this study adds is that, while acknowledging student intake differs by medical school, medical school itself seems to influence career preference. Comparisons across medical school populations must therefore control for differences in input [the students] as well as context and process [the medical school] when looking at output [e.g., performance]. A robust, longitudinal study is required to explore how medical students' career preferences change as they progress through medical school and training to understand the influence of the learning environment on training choice and outcomes.

KW - controllable life-style

KW - specialty choice

KW - general-surgery

KW - practice location

KW - surgical career

KW - shortage

KW - gender

KW - perspectives

KW - achievement

KW - intentions

U2 - 10.1186/1472-6920-14-151

DO - 10.1186/1472-6920-14-151

M3 - Article

VL - 14

JO - BMC Medical Education

JF - BMC Medical Education

SN - 1472-6920

M1 - 151

ER -