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Aust N Z J Med. 1989 Aug;19(4):389-99.

Research in choice of medical specialty: a review of the literature 1977-87.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.


Studies of the factors which influence the selection of a specialty in medicine represent a major theme in research in medical education. The journal literature in this area is reviewed for the last ten year under the headings of: Reasons for choice of specialty Timing and consistency of choice Expectations of financial success Attitudes and choice of specialty Predictive methods Effect of the curriculum Academic performance Psychiatry as a career choice General differences Personality factors It is concluded that there are a number of inadequacies in the investigations reported in this field. The research is not based on any theoretical model, focuses on only one or a few of the many possible factors and uses different study populations. Greater consistency and applicability of the findings could be achieved by a central organisation conducting appropriately designed multivariate studies using defined populations at a large number of centres.

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