Renée S. Moore MD; Lesley Cottrell PhD; Martin E. Weisse MD West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, Morgantown, West Virginia
Background: Medical students often change career preferences. Awareness of factors influencing these decisions helps those that advise medical students.
Objectives: Examine changes in pediatric career choices by medical students over time relating to influences at different stages of education.
Methods: Beginning August 1996 with the SVU SOM class of 2000 through the graduating class of 2005, annual surveys were administered at the start of each school year. 410 students ranked their top three career choices and factors that influenced their decisions. Descriptive analyses and X were conducted examining differences in influences of preferences by groups.
Results: 39(9.5%) respondents entered Peds residency and 29(7.1%) Med-Peds. Responses were categorized into one of four groups based on MS1 preferences and final specialty choice. (Group 1): 5.1% chose Peds as a preference and a specialty; (Group 2): 19.8% chose Peds as a preference but not a specialty; (Group 3): 4.4% did not choose as a preference but specialized in Peds; (Group 4): 70.7% did not choose Peds in their top three preferences during MS1 year and did not specialize in Peds. Students who continued to specialize in Peds after graduation (Group 1) reported life experiences as a significant influence through M 1-3, while students who did not specialize in Peds (Group 2) listed preclinical experiences and money as most influential during MS 2 and 3 years. Comparing groups specializing in Peds (Groups 1,3), life experiences was most significant to their decision. Students not specializing in Peds (Groups 2,4) were similar in listed influences- preclinical experiences during MS 2 and 3 years.
Conclusions: Life experiences play a major role for students who choose Peds as a career. Influences for Med-Peds has been similarly studied.