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Pediatrics. 2002 Feb;109(2):182-8.

Pediatric residents' career intentions: data from the leading edge of the pediatrician workforce.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.



To determine factors influencing career choices by pediatric residents and how they may change the future pediatric physician workforce.


Societal norms and policy decisions can influence the demographics of residents entering pediatric practice and resident career choices. Although predictors of physician career choice have been identified retrospectively by examining the characteristics of physicians in practice, little work has focused on the job selection factors important to pediatric residents when they make their postresidency career decisions.


For 3 consecutive years (1997-1999), the American Academy of Pediatrics surveyed a national sample of 500 third-year residents, totaling 1500 residents. Data on resident characteristics, job selection attitudes, and career decisions were obtained, and trends for the past 3 years were examined.


The percentage of residents intending to practice primary care remained constant at around 69% from 1997 through 1999. Female residents, US medical graduates, and residents married to nonphysicians were more likely to report primary care practice as their future clinical goal. These relationships were mediated by higher rates of a primary care practice goal among those who felt geographic location and future colleagues were very important and by lower rates among those who felt acceptable income, teaching opportunities, and research opportunities were very important. Six percent of residents entering general pediatrics were heading to rural locations.


With a projected increase in the number of female pediatricians and a decline in international medical graduates, our study suggests that pediatrics may continue to shift toward an increased proportion of general pediatricians. Lifestyle issues are a major factor influencing job choice and must be addressed.

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