Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2005 North Carolina Meeting

Poster Presentation:

Medical student specialty selections-a national study


 Adam Pallant, MD/PhD, Roy Kao, Mark Brady, Jason Machan, PhD and Randal Rockney, MD. Pediatrics, Brown Medical School

 Background: While there has been a decline in medical student selection of primary care fields for residency training, little data describe what influences career decisions.

Objective: What perceptions influence medical student career decisions?

Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to all members of AMA E-Voice medical student list serve and to AAMC class representatives at 20 medical schools selected for geographic diversity.

Results: 2237 medical students completed the survey. 56% were female. Respondents were roughly evenly distributed across year of training. In the first 3 years of medical school 16% of medical students identify pediatrics as their first career choice. This number drops to 12%, however, by the fourth year. Students report that patient contact, control over work, and personal challenge are the most important features for future career decisions, while salary, peer respect, malpractice, and length of training were significantly less influential. While medical students view pediatricians as more kind, and altruistic compared to internists and surgeons, they also view pediatrics as less challenging, and pediatricians less capable.” Women score pediatrics substantially higher in attractive lifestyle, work ethic, capability, dedication, and career challenge than men do (P<0.0002 for all values).

Conclusions: Pediatrics as a career choice declines in popularity by the 4th year of medical school. There are dramatic differences in male versus female impressions of pediatricians and pediatrics.