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Can J Surg. 2008 Oct;51(5):371-7.

Choosing a career in surgery: factors that influence Canadian medical students' interest in pursuing a surgical career.

Author information

1
Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. ian.scott@familymed.ubc.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Interest in both general surgery and surgical subspecialties has been declining among Canadian medical students. Studies have shown that a student's desire to practise surgery is largely determined before entry into medical school. As part of a larger study of students' career preferences throughout medical school, we sought to identify the level of interest in surgical careers and the factors that influence a student's interest in pursuing a surgical career.

METHODS:

We surveyed students from 18 different classes at Canadian medical schools at the commencement of their studies between 2001 and 2004. We asked the students to list their top career choices and the degree to which a series of variables influenced their choices. We also collected demographic data. We performed a factor analysis on the variables.

RESULTS:

Of 2420 surveys distributed, 2168 (89.6%) were completed. A total of 21.0% of respondents named a surgical specialty as their first choice of career. We found that male students were more likely to express interest in a surgical specialty than female students, who were more likely to express interest in either family medicine or a medical specialty. Compared with students interested in a career in family medicine, those interested in a surgical or medical specialty were younger, more likely to be single and more likely to be influenced by prestige when making their career choices. Students interested in a career in surgery were less influenced by medical lifestyle and a varied scope of practice, less likely to demonstrate a social orientation and more likely to be hospital-oriented than students interested in either family medicine or a medical specialty. Male students interested in a career in surgery were more hospital-oriented and less likely to demonstrate a social orientation than female students interested in surgical careers.

CONCLUSION:

We identified 5 factors and a number of demographic variables associated with a student's interest in a surgical career.

PMID:
18841235
PMCID:
PMC2556546
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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