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1.  The Academic Backbone: longitudinal continuities in educational achievement from secondary school and medical school to MRCP(UK) and the specialist register in UK medical students and doctors 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:242.
Background
Selection of medical students in the UK is still largely based on prior academic achievement, although doubts have been expressed as to whether performance in earlier life is predictive of outcomes later in medical school or post-graduate education. This study analyses data from five longitudinal studies of UK medical students and doctors from the early 1970s until the early 2000s. Two of the studies used the AH5, a group test of general intelligence (that is, intellectual aptitude). Sex and ethnic differences were also analyzed in light of the changing demographics of medical students over the past decades.
Methods
Data from five cohort studies were available: the Westminster Study (began clinical studies from 1975 to 1982), the 1980, 1985, and 1990 cohort studies (entered medical school in 1981, 1986, and 1991), and the University College London Medical School (UCLMS) Cohort Study (entered clinical studies in 2005 and 2006). Different studies had different outcome measures, but most had performance on basic medical sciences and clinical examinations at medical school, performance in Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (MRCP(UK)) examinations, and being on the General Medical Council Specialist Register.
Results
Correlation matrices and path analyses are presented. There were robust correlations across different years at medical school, and medical school performance also predicted MRCP(UK) performance and being on the GMC Specialist Register. A-levels correlated somewhat less with undergraduate and post-graduate performance, but there was restriction of range in entrants. General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)/O-level results also predicted undergraduate and post-graduate outcomes, but less so than did A-level results, but there may be incremental validity for clinical and post-graduate performance. The AH5 had some significant correlations with outcome, but they were inconsistent. Sex and ethnicity also had predictive effects on measures of educational attainment, undergraduate, and post-graduate performance. Women performed better in assessments but were less likely to be on the Specialist Register. Non-white participants generally underperformed in undergraduate and post-graduate assessments, but were equally likely to be on the Specialist Register. There was a suggestion of smaller ethnicity effects in earlier studies.
Conclusions
The existence of the Academic Backbone concept is strongly supported, with attainment at secondary school predicting performance in undergraduate and post-graduate medical assessments, and the effects spanning many years. The Academic Backbone is conceptualized in terms of the development of more sophisticated underlying structures of knowledge ('cognitive capital’ and 'medical capital’). The Academic Backbone provides strong support for using measures of educational attainment, particularly A-levels, in student selection.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-242
PMCID: PMC3827330  PMID: 24229333
Academic Backbone; Secondary school attainment; Undergraduate medical education; Post-graduate medical education; Longitudinal analyses; Continuities; Medical student selection; Cognitive capital; Medical capital; Aptitude tests
2.  Stress, burnout and doctors' attitudes to work are determined by personality and learning style: A twelve year longitudinal study of UK medical graduates 
BMC Medicine  2004;2:29.
Background
The study investigated the extent to which approaches to work, workplace climate, stress, burnout and satisfaction with medicine as a career in doctors aged about thirty are predicted by measures of learning style and personality measured five to twelve years earlier when the doctors were applicants to medical school or were medical students.
Methods
Prospective study of a large cohort of doctors. The participants were first studied when they applied to any of five UK medical schools in 1990. Postal questionnaires were sent to all doctors with a traceable address on the current or a previous Medical Register. The current questionnaire included measures of Approaches to Work, Workplace Climate, stress (General Health Questionnaire), burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory), and satisfaction with medicine as a career and personality (Big Five). Previous questionnaires had included measures of learning style (Study Process Questionnaire) and personality.
Results
Doctors' approaches to work were predicted by study habits and learning styles, both at application to medical school and in the final year. How doctors perceive their workplace climate and workload is predicted both by approaches to work and by measures of stress, burnout and satisfaction with medicine. These characteristics are partially predicted by trait measures of personality taken five years earlier. Stress, burnout and satisfaction also correlate with trait measures of personality taken five years earlier.
Conclusions
Differences in approach to work and perceived workplace climate seem mainly to reflect stable, long-term individual differences in doctors themselves, reflected in measures of personality and learning style.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-2-29
PMCID: PMC516448  PMID: 15317650
3.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
Conclusions
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743.
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
4.  Depersonalised doctors: a cross-sectional study of 564 doctors, 760 consultations and 1876 patient reports in UK general practice 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000274.
Objectives
The objectives of this study were to assess burnout in a sample of general practitioners (GPs), to determine factors associated with depersonalisation and to investigate its impact on doctors' consultations with patients.
Design
Cross-sectional, postal survey of GPs using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Patient survey and tape-recording of consultations for a subsample of respondents stratified by their MBI scores, gender and duration of General Medical Council registration.
Setting
UK general practice.
Participants
GPs within NHS Essex.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Scores on MBI subscales (depersonalisation, emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment); scores on Doctors' Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire and patient-centredness scores attributed to tape-recorded consultations by independent observers.
Results
In the postal survey, 564/789 (71%) GPs completed the MBI. High levels of emotional exhaustion (261/564 doctors, 46%) and depersonalisation (237 doctors, 42%) and low levels of personal accomplishment (190 doctors, 34%) were reported. Depersonalisation scores were related to characteristics of the doctor and the practice. Male doctors reported significantly higher (p<0.001) depersonalisation than female doctors. Doctors registered with the General Medical Council under 20 years had significantly higher (p=0.005) depersonalisation scores than those registered for longer. Doctors in group practices had significantly higher (p=0.001) depersonalisation scores than single-handed practitioners. Thirty-eight doctors agreed to complete the patient survey (n=1876 patients) and audio-record consultations (n=760 consultations). Depersonalised doctors were significantly more likely (p=0.03) to consult with patients who reported seeing their ‘usual doctor’. There were no significant associations between doctors' depersonalisation and their patient-rated interpersonal skills or observed patient-centredness.
Conclusions
This is the largest number of doctors completing the MBI with the highest levels of depersonalisation reported. Despite experiencing substantial depersonalisation, doctors' feelings of burnout were not detected by patients or independent observers. Such levels of burnout are, however, worrying and imply a need for action by doctors themselves, their medical colleagues, professional bodies, healthcare organisations and the Department of Health.
Article summary
Article focus
A cross-sectional survey was designed to assess levels of burnout in a census sample of GPs in Essex, UK, and to determine which doctor- or practice-related variables predicted higher levels of burnout.
In the substudy, patients rated the interpersonal skills of their doctor and independent observers assessed the degree of patient-centredness in a sample of the doctors' audio-taped consultations.
Key messages
High levels of burnout were reported in the census survey—46% doctors reported emotional exhaustion, 42% reported depersonalisation and 34% reported low levels of personal accomplishment.
Doctors' depersonalisation scores could be predicted by a range of variables relating to the individual doctor and their practice, but higher depersonalisation scores were not associated with poorer patient ratings of the doctors' interpersonal skills or a reduction in the patient-centredness of their consultations.
While the professional practice and patient-centredness of consultations of the GPs in this study were not affected by feelings of burnout, there is a need to offer help and support for doctors who are experiencing this.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A high response rate (71%) was achieved in the census sample of GPs completing the MBI and a subsample of 38 doctors who satisfied the predetermined sample stratification consented to further assessment (patient survey and audio-taping of consultations).
The study was, however, limited to one county in the UK and thus cannot be extrapolated to other parts of the UK.
There was a differential response rate by the gender of the participant. Male doctors who were registered with the General Medical Council for >20 years were less likely to respond to the survey than their female counterparts.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000274
PMCID: PMC3274717  PMID: 22300669
5.  GP recruitment and retention: a qualitative analysis of doctors' comments about training for and working in general practice. 
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: General practice in the UK is experiencing difficulty with medical staff recruitment and retention, with reduced numbers choosing careers in general practice or entering principalships, and increases in less-than-full-time working, career breaks, early retirement and locum employment. Information is scarce about the reasons for these changes and factors that could increase recruitment and retention. The UK Medical Careers Research Group (UKMCRG) regularly surveys cohorts of UK medical graduates to determine their career choices and progression. We also invite written comments from respondents about their careers and the factors that influence them. Most respondents report high levels of job satisfaction. A noteworthy minority, however, make critical comments about general practice. Although their views may not represent those of all general practitioners (GPs), they nonetheless indicate a range of concerns that deserve to be understood. This paper reports on respondents' comments about general practice. ANALYSIS OF DOCTORS' COMMENTS: Training Greater exposure to general practice at undergraduate level could help to promote general practice careers and better inform career decisions. Postgraduate general practice training in hospital-based posts was seen as poor quality, irrelevant and run as if it were of secondary importance to service commitments. In contrast, general practice-based postgraduate training was widely praised for good formal teaching that met educational needs. The quality of vocational training was dependent upon the skills and enthusiasm of individual trainers. Recruitment problems Perceived deterrents to choosing general practice were its portrayal, by some hospital-based teachers, as a second class career compared to hospital medicine, and a perception of low morale amongst current GPs. The choice of a career in general practice was commonly made for lifestyle reasons rather than professional aspirations. Some GPs had encountered difficulties in obtaining posts in general practice suited to their needs, while others perceived discrimination. Newly qualified GPs often sought work as non-principals because they felt too inexperienced for partnership or because their domestic situation prevented them from settling in a particular area. Changes to general practice The 1990 National Health Service (NHS) reforms were largely viewed unfavourably, partly because they had led to a substantial increase in GPs' workloads that was compounded by growing public expectations, and partly because the two-tier system of fund-holding was considered unfair. Fund-holding and, more recently, GP commissioning threatened the GP's role as patient advocate by shifting the responsibility for rationing of health care from government to GPs. Some concerns were also expressed about the introduction of primary care groups (PCGs) and trusts (PCTs). Together, increased workload and the continual process of change had, for some, resulted in work-related stress, low morale, reduced job satisfaction and quality of life. These problems had been partially alleviated by the formation of GP co-operatives. Retention difficulties Loss of GPs' time from the NHS workforce occurs in four ways: reduced working hours, temporary career breaks, leaving the NHS to work elsewhere and early retirement. Child rearing and a desire to pursue interests outside medicine were cited as reasons for seeking shorter working hours or career breaks. A desire to reduce pressure of work was a common reason for seeking shorter working hours, taking career breaks, early retirement or leaving NHS general practice. Other reasons for leaving NHS general practice, temporarily or permanently, were difficulty in finding a GP post suited to individual needs and a desire to work abroad. CONCLUSIONS: A cultural change amongst medical educationalists is needed to promote general practice as a career choice that is equally attractive as hospital practice. The introduction of Pre-Registration House Officer (PRHO) placements in general practice and improved flexibility of GP vocational training schemes, together with plans to improve the quality of Senior House Officer (SHO) training in the future, are welcome developments and should address some of the concerns about poor quality GP training raised by our respondents. The reluctance of newly qualified GPs to enter principalships, and the increasing demand from experienced GPs for less-than-full-time work, indicates a need for a greater variety of contractual arrangements to reflect doctors' desires for more flexible patterns of working in general practice.
PMCID: PMC2560447  PMID: 12049026
6.  Future career plans of Malawian medical students: a cross-sectional survey 
Background
Malawi has one of the lowest physician densities in the world, at 1.1 doctors per 100,000 population. Undergraduate training of doctors at the national medical school has increased considerably in recent years with donor support. However, qualified doctors continue to leave the public sector in order to work or train abroad. We explored the postgraduate plans of current medical students, and the extent to which this is influenced by their background.
Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was developed after discussion with students and senior staff. This included questions on background characteristics, education before medical school, and future career plans. This was distributed to all medical and premedical students on campus over 1 week and collected by an independent researcher. One reminder visit was made to each class. Chi-squared tests were performed to investigate the relationship of student characteristics with future career plans.
Results
One hundred and forty-nine students completed the questionnaire out of a student body of 312, a response rate of 48%. When questioned on their plans for after graduation, 49.0% of students plan to stay in Malawi. However, 38.9% plan to leave Malawi immediately. Medical students who completed a ‘premedical’ foundation year at the medical school were significantly more likely to have immediate plans to stay in Malawi compared to those who completed A-levels, an advanced school-leaving qualification (P = 0.037). Current premedical students were slightly more likely to have immediate plans to work or train in Malawi compared to medical students (P = 0.049). However, a trend test across all the years was not significant. When asked about future plans, nearly half of students intend to work or train outside Malawi.
Conclusions
The majority of respondents plan to leave Malawi in the future. The effectiveness of the substantial upscaling of medical education in Malawi may be diminished unless more medical students plan to work in Malawi after graduation.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-10-29
PMCID: PMC3465242  PMID: 22971119
Human resources for health; Physicians; Medical education; Migration; Malawi
7.  Demographic characteristics of doctors who intend to follow clinical academic careers: UK national questionnaire surveys 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2014;90(1068):557-564.
Objectives
It is well recognised that women are underrepresented in clinical academic posts. Our aim was to determine which of a number of characteristics—notably gender, but also ethnicity, possession of an intercalated degree, medical school attended, choice of specialty—were predictive of doctors’ intentions to follow clinical academic careers.
Design
Questionnaires to all UK-trained medical graduates of 2005 sent in 2006 and again in 2010, graduates of 2009 in 2010 and graduates of 2012 in 2013.
Results
At the end of their first year of medical work, 13.5% (368/2732) of men and 7.3% (358/4891) of women specified that they intended to apply for a clinical academic training post; and 6.0% (172/2873) of men and 2.2% (111/5044) of women specified that they intended to pursue clinical academic medicine as their eventual career. A higher percentage of Asian (4.8%) than White doctors (3.3%) wanted a long-term career as a clinical academic, as did a higher percentage of doctors who did an intercalated degree (5.6%) than others (2.2%) and a higher percentage of Oxbridge graduates (8.1%) than others (2.8%). Of the graduates of 2005, only 30% of those who in 2006 intended a clinical medicine career also did so when re-surveyed in 2010 (men 44%, women 12%).
Conclusions
There are noteworthy differences by gender and other demographic factors in doctors’ intentions to pursue academic training and careers. The gap between men and women in aspirations for a clinical academic career is present as early as the first year after qualification.
doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2014-132681
PMCID: PMC4174014  PMID: 25136138
Medical Education & Training
8.  Career preferences of doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1993 compared with those of doctors qualifying in 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7048):19-24.
OBJECTIVE--To report the career preferences of doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1993 and to compare their choices with those of earlier cohorts of qualifiers. DESIGN--Postal questionnaires with structured questions, including questions about choice of future long term career, were sent to doctors a year after qualification. SETTING--United Kingdom. SUBJECTS--All medical qualifiers of 1993, comparing their replies with those from earlier studies of the qualifiers of 1974, 1977, 1980, and 1983. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Choice of future long term career and certainty of choice expressed at the end of the first year after qualification. RESULTS--Questionnaires were sent to 3657 doctors. 2621 (71.7%) replied. Of the 2621 respondents, 70.5% (1849) stated that their first preference was for a career in hospital practice, 25.8% (677) specified general practice, 1.0% (25) specified public health medicine or community health, 1.4% (36) specified careers outside medicine, and 1.3% (34) did not state a choice. By contrast, 44.7% (1416/3168) of the doctors in the 1983 cohort had specified that their first preference was general practice. Among the 1993 qualifiers, general practice was the first career choice of 17.5% of men (227/1297) and 34.0% of women (450/1324). Only 7.4% of men (96/1297) stated that they definitely wanted to enter general practice. Only 7.8% (103/1324) of women qualifiers in 1993 expressed a career preference for surgical specialties. Within hospital practice, comparing 1993 with 1983, choices for the medical specialties and for accident and emergency medicine rose and those for pathology fell. Women were less definite than men about their choice of future long term career. CONCLUSIONS--If the 1993 cohort is typical of the current generation of young doctors, there has been a substantial shift away from general practice as a career choice expressed at the end of the preregistration year. General practice was much more popular among women than men. Few women opted for surgery. The sex imbalance in the percentage of doctors who choose different mainstreams of medical practice seems set to continue.
PMCID: PMC2351449  PMID: 8664763
9.  Why do primary care doctors undertake postgraduate diploma studies in a mixed private/public Asian setting? 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2006;82(968):400-403.
Objective
The aim of this study was to examine the reasons why primary care doctors undertake postgraduate diploma studies in a mixed private/public Asian setting.
Methods
Twenty four past or current postgraduate diploma students of the family medicine unit (FMU) of the University of Hong Kong participated in three focus group interviews. A structured questionnaire was constructed based on the qualitative data collected and was sent to 328 former applicants of postgraduate diploma studies at FMU.
Results
“Upgrading medical knowledge and skills” and “improving quality of practice” were two of the factors that most of the respondents considered to be significant in motivating them to undertake postgraduate diploma studies. “Time constraint” and “workload in practice” were however the most significant demotivating factors. Financial issues were more seriously considered by the junior than the senior doctors. To be able to “expand patient base and/or number” was considered to be a significant factor by the private doctors who were also keen to “improve communication and relationship with patients”.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that there are mixed reasons for primary care doctors to undertake postgraduate diploma studies. Course organisers should take into consideration these various reasons in planning their programmes.
doi:10.1136/pgmj.2005.042077
PMCID: PMC2563755  PMID: 16754710
Asia; general practitioners; postgraduate studies; primary care doctors
10.  The impact of gender and parenthood on physicians' careers - professional and personal situation seven years after graduation 
Background
The profile of the medical profession is changing in regard to feminization, attitudes towards the profession, and the lifestyle aspirations of young physicians. The issues addressed in this study are the careers of female and male physicians seven years after graduation and the impact of parenthood on career development.
Methods
Data reported originates from the fifth assessment (T5) of the prospective SwissMedCareer Study, beginning in 2001 (T1). At T5 in 2009, 579 residents (81.4% of the initial sample at T1) participated in the questionnaire survey. They were asked about occupational factors, career-related factors including specialty choice and workplace, work-life balance and life satisfaction. The impact of gender and parenthood on the continuous variables was investigated by means of multivariate and univariate analyses of variance; categorical variables were analyzed using Chi-square tests.
Results
Female physicians, especially those with children, have lower rates of employment and show lower values in terms of career success and career support experiences than male physicians. In addition, parenthood has a negative impact on these career factors. In terms of work-life balance aspired to, female doctors are less career-oriented and are more inclined to consider part-time work or to continue their professional career following a break to bring up a family. Parenthood means less career-orientation and more part-time orientation. As regards life satisfaction, females show higher levels of satisfaction overall, especially where friends, leisure activities, and income are concerned. Compared to their male colleagues, female physicians are less advanced in their specialty qualification, are less prone to choosing prestigious surgical fields, have a mentor less often, more often work at small hospitals or in private practice, aspire less often to senior hospital or academic positions and consider part-time work more often. Any negative impact on career path and advancement is exacerbated by parenthood, especially as far as women are concerned.
Conclusion
The results of the present study reflect socially-rooted gender role stereotypes. Taking into account the feminization of medicine, special attention needs to be paid to female physicians, especially those with children. At an early stage of their career, they should be advised to be more proactive in seeking mentoring and career-planning opportunities. If gender equity in terms of career chances is to be achieved, special career-support measures will have to be provided, such as mentoring programs, role models, flexitime and flexible career structures.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-40
PMCID: PMC2851709  PMID: 20167075
11.  Career pathways and destinations 18 years on among doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1977: postal questionnaire survey 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;317(7170):1425-1428.
Objective
To determine the career destinations, by 1995, of doctors who qualified in the United Kingdom in 1977; the relation between their destinations and early career choice; and their intentions regarding retirement age.
Design
Postal questionnaire.
Setting
United Kingdom.
Subjects
All (n=3135) medical qualifiers of 1977.
Main outcome measures
Current employment; year by year trends in the percentage of doctors who worked in the NHS, in other medical posts in the United Kingdom, abroad, in non-medical posts, outside medicine, and in part time work; intentions regarding retirement age.
Results
After about 12 years the distribution of respondents by type of employment, and, for women, the percentage of doctors in part time rather than full time medical work, had stabilised. Of all 2997 qualifiers from medical schools in Great Britain, 2399 (80.0% (95% confidence interval 79.5% to 80.6%)) were working in medicine in the NHS in Great Britain 18 years after qualifying. Almost half the women (318/656) worked in the NHS part time. Of 1714 doctors in the NHS, 1125 intended to work in the NHS until normal retirement age, 392 did not, and 197 were undecided. Of the 1548 doctors for whom we had sufficient information, career destinations at 18 years matched the choices made at 1, 3, and 5 years in 58.9% (912), 78.2% (1211), and 86.6% (1341) of cases respectively.
Conclusions
Planning for the medical workforce needs to be supported by information about doctors’ career plans, destinations, and whole time equivalent years of work. Postgraduate training needs to take account of doctors’ eventual choice of specialty (and the timing of this choice).
Key messagesA large scale national study in the United Kingdom followed doctors from qualification to mid-career and beyondMost doctors had made their choice of eventual career—at least in terms of broadly defined specialty—within 5 years of qualifyingEighteen years on, 80% of the doctors were working in the NHS and nearly half of women doctors were working part timeAlmost a quarter of NHS doctors planned to retire early
PMCID: PMC28721  PMID: 9822395
12.  Geographical movement of doctors from education to training and eventual career post: UK cohort studies 
Objective
To investigate the geographical mobility of UK-trained doctors.
Design
Cohort studies conducted by postal questionnaires.
Setting
UK.
Participants
A total 31,353 UK-trained doctors in 11 cohorts defined by year of qualification, from 1974 to 2008.
Main outcome measures
Location of family home prior to medical school, location of medical school, region of first training post, region of first career post. Analysis for the UK divided into 17 standard geographical regions.
Results
The response rate was 81.2% (31,353/45,061; denominators, below, depended on how far the doctors’ careers had progressed). Of all respondents, 36% (11,381/31,353) attended a medical school in their home region and 48% (10,370/21,740) undertook specialty training in the same region as their medical school.
Of respondents who had reached the grade of consultant or principal in general practice in the UK, 34% (4169/12,119) settled in the same region as their home before entering medical school. Of those in the UK, 70% (7643/10,887) held their first career post in the same region as either their home before medical school, or their medical school or their location of training. For 18% (1938/10,887), all four locations – family home, medical school, place of training, place of first career post – were within the same region. A higher percentage of doctors from the more recent than from the older cohorts settled in the region of their family home.
Conclusion
Many doctors do not change geographical region in their successive career moves, and recent cohorts appear less inclined to do so.
doi:10.1177/0141076812472617
PMCID: PMC3595409  PMID: 23481431
13.  Unhappiness and dissatisfaction in doctors cannot be predicted by selectors from medical school application forms: A prospective, longitudinal study 
Background
Personal statements and referees' reports are widely used on medical school application forms, particularly in the UK, to assess the suitability of candidates for a career in medicine. However there are few studies which assess the validity of such information for predicting unhappiness or dissatisfaction with a career in medicine. Here we combine data from a long-term prospective study of medical student selection and training, with an experimental approach in which a large number of assessors used a paired comparison technique to predict outcome.
Methods
Data from a large-scale prospective study of students applying to UK medical schools in 1990 were used to identify 40 pairs of doctors, matched by sex, for whom personal statements and referees' reports were available, and who in a 2002/3 follow-up study, one pair member was very satisfied and the other very dissatisfied with medicine as a career. In 2005, 96 assessors, who were experienced medical school selectors, doctors, medical students or psychology students, used information from the doctors' original applications to judge which member of each pair of doctors was the happier, more satisfied doctor.
Results
None of the groups of assessors were significantly different from chance expectations in using applicants' personal statements and the referees' reports to predict actual future satisfaction or dissatisfaction, the distribution being similar to binomial expectations. However judgements of pairs of application forms from pairs of doctors showed a non-binomial distribution, indicating consensus among assessors as to which doctor would be the happy doctor (although the consensus was wrong in half the cases). Assessors taking longer to do the task concurred more. Consensus judgements seem mainly to be based on referees' predictions of academic achievement (even though academic achievement is not actually a valid predictor of happiness or satisfaction).
Conclusion
Although widely used in medical student selection to assess motivation, interest and commitment to a medical career, the personal statement and the referee's report cannot validly be used by assessors, including experienced medical school selectors, to identify doctors who will subsequently be dissatisfied with a medical career.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-38
PMCID: PMC1325230  PMID: 16351718
14.  Factors associated with burnout among Chinese hospital doctors: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:786.
Background
Burnout has been a major concern in the field of occupational health. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the factors related to burnout among Chinese doctors. Investigation of these factors is important to improve the health of doctors and the quality of healthcare services in China.
Methods
The study population consisted of 1,618 registered hospital doctors from Liaoning province of China. Burnout was measured using the Chinese version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Occupational stress was measured using the Chinese versions of the Job Content Questionnaire and the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire. Data were collected on the respondents’ demographic characteristics and work situations. Of the doctors solicited for enrollment, 1,202 returned the completed questionnaire (555 men, 647 women), giving a response rate of 74.3%. A general linear regression model was applied to analyze the factors associated with burnout.
Results
The burnout mean scores were 11.46 (7.51) for emotional exhaustion, 6.93 (5.15) for cynicism, and 24.07 (9.50) for professional efficacy. In descending order of standardized estimates, variables that predicted a high level of emotional exhaustion included: high extrinsic effort, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, working >40 h per week, low reward, and high psychological job demands. Variables that predicted a high level of cynicism included: high extrinsic effort, low reward, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, low decision authority, low supervisor support, and low skill discretion. Variables that predicted a low perceived professional efficacy included: high psychological job demands, low coworker support, high extrinsic effort, low decision authority, low reward, and dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that occupational stress is strongly related to burnout among hospital doctors in China. Strategies that aim to improve work situations and decrease occupational stress are necessary to reduce burnout, including health education, health promotion, and occupational training programs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-786
PMCID: PMC3765838  PMID: 23985038
Burnout; Doctors; Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey; Occupational stress
15.  Career-Success Scale – A new instrument to assess young physicians' academic career steps 
Background
Within the framework of a prospective cohort study of Swiss medical school graduates, a Career-Success Scale (CSS) was constructed in a sample of young physicians choosing different career paths in medicine. Furthermore the influence of personality factors, the participants' personal situation, and career related factors on their career success was investigated.
Methods
406 residents were assessed in terms of career aspired to, and their career progress. The Career-Success Scale, consisting of 7 items, was developed and validated, addressing objective criteria of academic career advancement. The influence of gender and career aspiration was investigated by a two-factorial analysis of variance, the relationships between personality factors, personal situation, career related factors and the Career-Success Scale by a multivariate linear regression analysis.
Results
The unidimensional Career-Success Scale has an internal consistency of 0.76. It is significantly correlated at the bivariate level with gender, instrumentality, and all career related factors, particularly with academic career and received mentoring. In multiple regression, only gender, academic career, surgery as chosen specialty, and received mentoring are significant predictors. The highest values were observed in participants aspiring to an academic career, followed by those pursuing a hospital career and those wanting to run a private practice. Independent of the career aspired to, female residents have lower scores than their male colleagues.
Conclusion
The Career-Success Scale proved to be a short, reliable and valid instrument to measure career achievements. As mentoring is an independent predictor of career success, mentoring programs could be an important instrument to specifically enhance careers of female physicians in academia.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-120
PMCID: PMC2442432  PMID: 18518972
16.  The sense of coherence and styles of success in the medical career: a longitudinal study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):254.
Background
Sense of coherence is related to well-being, stress and life satisfaction among medical students and physicians. The purpose of the study was to investigate relation between sense of coherence during medical education and styles of success in the medical career.
Methods
The participants were first examined when they applied to medical school in 1999. Questionnaires were given to these students each academic year from 2000 to 2005. Also, 54 medical doctors who had participated in the first phase of the study completed a questionnaire in 2009, four years after graduation. The baseline questionnaire measured the sense of coherence. The follow-up questionnaire included measures of quality of life, work stress and burnout, satisfaction with medicine as a career, and professional competency.
Results
Medical students with the highest sense of coherence later have the highest quality of life and income, and are the least overwhelmed by work stress, but they also show the least satisfaction with medicine as a career and a low level of professional competence.
Conclusions
Antonovsky’s SOC-29 questionnaire can be used to identify specific tendencies in the development of the medical career. Our results may be useful to medical school admissions officers and resident selection committees, in order to identify candidates at risk for failure.
doi:10.1186/s12909-014-0254-5
PMCID: PMC4253615  PMID: 25429899
Sense of coherence; Longitudinal study; Job satisfaction; Medical students; Medical staff; Professional success
17.  A holistic review of the medical school admission process: examining correlates of academic underperformance 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.22919.
Background
Despite medical school admission committees’ best efforts, a handful of seemingly capable students invariably struggle during their first year of study. Yet, even as entrance criteria continue to broaden beyond cognitive qualifications, attention inevitably reverts back to such factors when seeking to understand these phenomena. Using a host of applicant, admission, and post-admission variables, the purpose of this inductive study, then, was to identify a constellation of student characteristics that, taken collectively, would be predictive of students at-risk of underperforming during the first year of medical school. In it, we hypothesize that a wider range of factors than previously recognized could conceivably play roles in understanding why students experience academic problems early in the medical educational continuum.
Methods
The study sample consisted of the five most recent matriculant cohorts from a large, southeastern medical school (n=537). Independent variables reflected: 1) the personal demographics of applicants (e.g., age, gender); 2) academic criteria (e.g., undergraduate grade point averages [GPA], medical college admission test); 3) selection processes (e.g., entrance track, interview scores, committee votes); and 4) other indicators of personality and professionalism (e.g., Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test™ emotional intelligence scores, NEO PI-R™ personality profiles, and appearances before the Professional Code Committee [PCC]). The dependent variable, first-year underperformance, was defined as ANY action (repeat, conditionally advance, or dismiss) by the college's Student Progress and Promotions Committee (SPPC) in response to predefined academic criteria. This study protocol was approved by the local medical institutional review board (IRB).
Results
Of the 537 students comprising the study sample, 61 (11.4%) met the specified criterion for academic underperformance. Significantly increased academic risks were identified among students who 1) had lower mean undergraduate science GPAs (OR=0.24, p=0.001); 2) entered medical school via an accelerated BS/MD track (OR=16.15, p=0.002); 3) were 31 years of age or older (OR=14.76, p=0.005); and 4) were non-unanimous admission committee admits (OR=0.53, p=0.042). Two dimensions of the NEO PI-R™ personality inventory, openness (+) and conscientiousness (−), were modestly but significantly correlated with academic underperformance. Only for the latter, however, were mean scores found to differ significantly between academic performers and underperformers. Finally, appearing before the college's PCC (OR=4.21, p=0.056) fell just short of statistical significance.
Conclusions
Our review of various correlates across the matriculation process highlights the heterogeneity of factors underlying students’ underperformance during the first year of medical school and challenges medical educators to understand the complexity of predicting who, among admitted matriculants, may be at future academic risk.
doi:10.3402/meo.v19.22919
PMCID: PMC3974177  PMID: 24695362
admissions; underperformance; selection; at-risk students
18.  The influence of rural clinical school experiences on medical students’ levels of interest in rural careers 
Human Resources for Health  2014;12(1):48.
Background
Australian Rural Clinical School (RCS) programmes have been designed to create experiences that positively influence graduates to choose rural medical careers. Rural career intent is a categorical evaluation measure and has been used to assess the Australian RCS model. Predictors for rural medical career intent have been associated with extrinsic values such as students with a rural background. Intrinsic values such as personal interest have not been assessed with respect to rural career intent. In psychology, a predictor of the motivation or emotion for a specific career or career location is the level of interest. Our primary aims are to model over one year of Australian RCS training, change in self-reported interest for future rural career intent. Secondary aims are to model student factors associated with rural career intent while attending an RCS.
Methods
The study participants were medical students enrolled in a RCS in the year 2013 at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and who completed the newly developed self-administered UNSW Undergraduate Destinations Study (UDS) questionnaire. Data were collected at baseline and after one year of RCS training on preferred location for internship, work and intended specialty. Interest for graduate practice location (career intent) was assessed on a five-variable Likert scale at both baseline and at follow-up. A total of 165 students completed the UDS at baseline and 150 students after 1 year of follow-up.
Results
Factors associated with intent to practise in a rural location were rural background (χ2 = 28.4, P < 0.001), two or more previous years at an RCS (χ2 = 9.0, P = 0.003), and preference for a rural internship (χ2 = 17.8, P < 0.001). At follow-up, 41% of participants who originally intended to work in a metropolitan location at baseline changed their preference and indicated a preference for a rural location. The level of interest in intended practice location was significantly higher for those intending to work in a rural area than those with intention to work in a metropolitan (urban area) location (t = -3.1, P = 0.002). Initial rural career location intention was associated with increased interest levels after 1 year of follow-up (paired t = -2.3, P = 0.02).
Conclusion
When evaluating the success of RCS outcomes with respect to rural workforce destination, both rural practice intentions and level of interest are key factors related to projected career destination. RCS experience can positively influence practice intent (toward rural practice) and interest levels (toward greater interest in rural practice).
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-12-48
PMCID: PMC4159525  PMID: 25169650
Rural career intention; Interest level; Australian Rural Clinical School (RCS)
19.  Academic career in medicine – requirements and conditions for successful advancement in Switzerland 
Background
Within the framework of a prospective cohort study of Swiss medical school graduates a sample of young physicians aspiring to an academic career were surveyed on their career support and barriers experienced up to their sixth year of postgraduate training.
Methods
Thirty-one junior academics took part in semi-structured telephone interviews in 2007. The interview guideline focused on career paths to date, career support and barriers experienced, and recommendations for junior and senior academics. The qualitatively assessed data were evaluated according to Mayring's content analysis. Furthermore, quantitatively gained data from the total cohort sample on person- and career-related characteristics were analyzed in regard to differences between the junior academics and cohort doctors who aspire to another career in medicine.
Results
Junior academics differ in terms of instrumentality as a person-related factor, and in terms of intrinsic career motivation and mentoring as career-related factors from cohort doctors who follow other career paths in medicine; they also show higher scores in the Career-Success Scale. Four types of career path could be identified in junior academics: (1) focus on basic sciences, (2) strong focus on research (PhD programs) followed by clinical training, (3) one to two years in research followed by clinical training, (4) clinical training and research in parallel. The interview material revealed the following categories of career-supporting experience: making oneself out as a proactive junior physician, research resources provided by superior staff, and social network; statements concerning career barriers encompassed interference between clinical training and research activities, insufficient research coaching, and personality related barriers. Recommendations for junior academics focused on mentoring and professional networking, for senior academics on interest in human resource development and being role models.
Conclusion
The conditions for an academic career in medicine in Switzerland appear to be difficult especially for those physicians combining research with clinical work. For a successful academic career it seems crucial to start with research activities right after graduation, and take up clinical training later in the career. Furthermore, special mentoring programs for junior academics should be implemented at all medical schools to give trainees more goal-oriented guidance in their career.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-70
PMCID: PMC2685793  PMID: 19402885
20.  Trends in doctors' early career choices for general practice in the UK: longitudinal questionnaire surveys 
The British Journal of General Practice  2011;61(588):e397-e403.
Background
The percentage of newly qualified doctors in the UK who want a career in general practice declined substantially in the 1990s. The English Department of Health expects that half of all doctors will become GPs.
Aim
To report on choices for general practice made by doctors who qualified in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2009.
Design and setting
A structured, closed questionnaire about future career intentions, sent to all UK medical graduates.
Method
Questionnaires sent 1 year after qualification (all cohorts) and 3 years after (all except 2008 and 2009).
Results
Percentages of doctors who expressed an unreserved first choice for general practice in the first year after qualification, in the successive five cohorts, were 22.2%, 20.2%, 23.2%, 21.3%, and 20.4%. Percentages who expressed any choice for general practice — whether first, second or third — were 46.5%, 43.4%, 52.6%, 49.5%, and 49.9%. Three years after qualification, an unreserved first choice was expressed, in successive cohorts, by 27.9%, 26.1%, and 35.1%. Doctors from newly established English medical schools showed the highest levels of choice for general practice.
Conclusion
The percentage of doctors, in their first post-qualification year, whose first choice of eventual career was general practice has not changed much in recent years. By year 3 after qualification, this preference has increased in recent years. At years 1 and 3, the overall first choice for general practice is considerably lower than the required 50%, but varies substantially by medical school. In depth studies of why this is so are needed.
doi:10.3399/bjgp11X583173
PMCID: PMC3123502  PMID: 21722447
career choice; general practice; junior doctors; medical education; workforce planning
21.  Statistics teaching in medical school: Opinions of practising doctors 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:75.
Background
The General Medical Council expects UK medical graduates to gain some statistical knowledge during their undergraduate education; but provides no specific guidance as to amount, content or teaching method. Published work on statistics teaching for medical undergraduates has been dominated by medical statisticians, with little input from the doctors who will actually be using this knowledge and these skills after graduation. Furthermore, doctor's statistical training needs may have changed due to advances in information technology and the increasing importance of evidence-based medicine. Thus there exists a need to investigate the views of practising medical doctors as to the statistical training required for undergraduate medical students, based on their own use of these skills in daily practice.
Methods
A questionnaire was designed to investigate doctors' views about undergraduate training in statistics and the need for these skills in daily practice, with a view to informing future teaching. The questionnaire was emailed to all clinicians with a link to the University of East Anglia Medical School. Open ended questions were included to elicit doctors' opinions about both their own undergraduate training in statistics and recommendations for the training of current medical students. Content analysis was performed by two of the authors to systematically categorise and describe all the responses provided by participants.
Results
130 doctors responded, including both hospital consultants and general practitioners. The findings indicated that most had not recognised the value of their undergraduate teaching in statistics and probability at the time, but had subsequently found the skills relevant to their career. Suggestions for improving undergraduate teaching in these areas included referring to actual research and ensuring relevance to, and integration with, clinical practice.
Conclusions
Grounding the teaching of statistics in the context of real research studies and including examples of typical clinical work may better prepare medical students for their subsequent career.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-75
PMCID: PMC2987935  PMID: 21050444
22.  Views of junior doctors about whether their medical school prepared them well for work: questionnaire surveys 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:78.
Background
The transition from medical student to junior doctor in postgraduate training is a critical stage in career progression. We report junior doctors' views about the extent to which their medical school prepared them for their work in clinical practice.
Methods
Postal questionnaires were used to survey the medical graduates of 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005, from all UK medical schools, one year after graduation, and graduates of 2000, 2002 and 2005 three years after graduation. Summary statistics, chi-squared tests, and binary logistic regression were used to analyse the results. The main outcome measure was the level of agreement that medical school had prepared the responder well for work.
Results
Response rate was 63.7% (11610/18216) in year one and 60.2% (8427/13997) in year three. One year after graduation, 36.3% (95% CI: 34.6, 38.0) of 1999/2000 graduates, 50.3% (48.5, 52.2) of 2002 graduates, and 58.2% (56.5, 59.9) of 2005 graduates agreed their medical school had prepared them well. Conversely, in year three agreement fell from 48.9% (47.1, 50.7) to 38.0% (36.0, 40.0) to 28.0% (26.2, 29.7). Combining cohorts at year one, percentages who agreed that they had been well prepared ranged from 82% (95% CI: 79-87) at the medical school with the highest level of agreement to 30% (25-35) at the lowest. At year three the range was 70% to 27%. Ethnicity and sex were partial predictors of doctors' level of agreement; following adjustment for them, substantial differences between schools remained. In years one and three, 30% and 34% of doctors specified that feeling unprepared had been a serious or medium-sized problem for them (only 3% in each year regarded it as serious).
Conclusions
The vast knowledge base of clinical practice makes full preparation impossible. Our statement about feeling prepared is simple yet discriminating and identified some substantial differences between medical schools. Medical schools need feedback from graduates about elements of training that could be improved.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-78
PMCID: PMC3020650  PMID: 21070622
23.  Career choices for ophthalmology made by newly qualified doctors in the United Kingdom, 1974–2005 
BMC Ophthalmology  2008;8:3.
Background
The paper aims to report trends in career choices for ophthalmology among UK medical graduates.
Methods
Postal questionnaire surveys were undertaken of qualifiers from all UK medical schools in nine qualification years since 1974. Data were analysed by univariate cross-tabulation. The significance of comparisons between groups of doctors were calculated by the use of chi-squared tests and adjusted residuals.
Results
Ophthalmology was the first choice of long term career for 2.3% of men and 1.5% of women one year after qualification; 2.0% of men and 1.4% of women three years after; and 1.8% of men and 1.2% of women at five years. Comparing early choices with eventual destinations, 64% who chose ophthalmology in year one, 84% in year three, and 92% in year five eventually practised in the specialty. The concordance between year one choice and eventual destination was higher for ophthalmology than for most other specialties. 'Enthusiasm for and commitment to the specialty' was the most important single factor in influencing career choice. The prospect of good working hours and conditions was also an important influence: it influenced career choice a great deal for a higher percentage of those who chose ophthalmology (66% in the third year) than those who made other surgical choices (23%).
Conclusion
Those choosing ophthalmology show a high level of commitment to it. Their commitment is strengthened by the prospect of attractive hours and working conditions. Many doctors who become ophthalmologists have already made their choice by the end of their first post-qualification year.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-8-3
PMCID: PMC2311274  PMID: 18318905
24.  A survey of factors influencing career preference in new-entrant and exiting medical students from four UK medical schools 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:151.
Background
Workforce planning is a central issue for service provision and has consequences for medical education. Much work has been examined the career intentions, career preferences and career destinations of UK medical graduates but there is little published about medical students career intentions. How soon do medical students formulate careers intentions? How much do these intentions and preferences change during medical school? If they do change, what are the determining factors? Our aim was to compare medical students’ career preferences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Two cohorts [2009–10, 2010–11] of first and final year medical students at the four Scottish graduating medical schools took part in career preference questionnaire surveys. Questions were asked about demographic factors, career preferences and influencing factors.
Results
The response rate was 80.9% [2682/3285]. Significant differences were found across the four schools, most obviously in terms of student origin [Scotland, rest of UK or overseas], age group, and specialty preferences in Year 1 and Year 5. Year 1 and Year 5 students’ specialty preferences also differed within each school and, while there were some common patterns, each medical school had a different profile of students’ career preferences on exit. When the analysis was adjusted for demographic and job-related preferences, specialty preferences differed by gender, and wish for work-life balance and intellectual satisfaction.
Conclusions
This is the first multi-centre study exploring students’ career preferences and preference influences upon entry into and exit from undergraduate medical degree programmes. We found various factors influenced career preference, confirming prior findings. What this study adds is that, while acknowledging student intake differs by medical school, medical school itself seems to influence career preference. Comparisons across medical school populations must therefore control for differences in input [the students] as well as context and process [the medical school] when looking at output [e.g., performance]. A robust, longitudinal study is required to explore how medical students’ career preferences change as they progress through medical school and training to understand the influence of the learning environment on training choice and outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-151
PMCID: PMC4131477  PMID: 25056270
25.  The educational background and qualifications of UK medical students from ethnic minorities 
Background
UK medical students and doctors from ethnic minorities underperform in undergraduate and postgraduate examinations. Although it is assumed that white (W) and non-white (NW) students enter medical school with similar qualifications, neither the qualifications of NW students, nor their educational background have been looked at in detail. This study uses two large-scale databases to examine the educational attainment of W and NW students.
Methods
Attainment at GCSE and A level, and selection for medical school in relation to ethnicity, were analysed in two separate databases. The 10th cohort of the Youth Cohort Study provided data on 13,698 students taking GCSEs in 1999 in England and Wales, and their subsequent progression to A level. UCAS provided data for 1,484,650 applicants applying for admission to UK universities and colleges in 2003, 2004 and 2005, of whom 52,557 applied to medical school, and 23,443 were accepted.
Results
NW students achieve lower grades at GCSE overall, although achievement at the highest grades was similar to that of W students. NW students have higher educational aspirations, being more likely to go on to take A levels, especially in science and particularly chemistry, despite relatively lower achievement at GCSE. As a result, NW students perform less well at A level than W students, and hence NW students applying to university also have lower A-level grades than W students, both generally, and for medical school applicants. NW medical school entrants have lower A level grades than W entrants, with an effect size of about -0.10.
Conclusion
The effect size for the difference between white and non-white medical school entrants is about B0.10, which would mean that for a typical medical school examination there might be about 5 NW failures for each 4 W failures. However, this effect can only explain a portion of the overall effect size found in undergraduate and postgraduate examinations of about -0.32.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-21
PMCID: PMC2359745  PMID: 18416818

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