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Teach Learn Med. 2015;27(2):123-9. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2015.1011644.

Medical school ranking and medical student vocational identity.

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a Department of Medicine , University of Chicago , Chicago , Illinois , USA.


PHENOMENON: Vocational identity may play an important role in physicians' healthy professional development. Allopathic medical students' vocational identity may bear a relationship to the level of emphasis placed on research versus service at their medical school.


Social mission score (SMS) and the US News and World Report (USNWR) research ranking (year 2011) were used as schools' national rankings for service and research, respectively. A questionnaire was sent to 960 3rd-year medical students from 24 allopathic medical schools between January and April 2011. The scale for vocational identity was created using the responses from the Vocational Identity Scale (9 items), and we used an established cutoff from a previous study to categorize those students who had "strong" vocational identity.


After categorizing allopathic medical schools into four groups based on SMS rankings, we found that medical students who attended allopathic medical schools from the two highest SMS ranking groups were more likely to report scores reflecting strong vocational identities-odds ratio [OR] = 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.8, 4.7] and OR = 2.5, 95% CI [1.6, 4.0], respectively. In contrast, we did not find any associations between students from allopathic medical schools with high USNWR rankings and likelihood of reporting scores reflecting strong vocational identities. Insights: Social mission scores for allopathic medical schools may potentially serve as predictors of professional and vocational identity development. Further research is needed to better understand these findings, as this is one of the first studies both to examine allopathic medical students' sense of vocational identity and to explore the use of SMS rankings as predictors of medical students' professional development.


school ranking; social mission; vocation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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