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2.  Factors associated with the subspecialty choices of internal medicine residents in Canada 
Background
Currently, there are more residents enrolled in cardiology training programs in Canada than in immunology, pharmacology, rheumatology, infectious diseases, geriatrics and endocrinology combined. There is no published data regarding the proportion of Canadian internal medicine residents applying to the various subspecialties, or the factors that residents consider important when deciding which subspecialty to pursue. To address the concern about physician imbalances in internal medicine subspecialties, we need to examine the factors that motivate residents when making career decisions.
Methods
In this two-phase study, Canadian internal medicine residents participating in the post graduate year 4 (PGY4) subspecialty match were invited to participate in a web-based survey and focus group discussions. The focus group discussions were based on issues identified from the survey results. Analysis of focus group transcripts grew on grounded theory.
Results
110 PGY3 residents participating in the PGY4 subspecialty match from 10 participating Canadian universities participated in the web-based survey (54% response rate). 22 residents from 3 different training programs participated in 4 focus groups held across Canada. Our study found that residents are choosing careers that provide intellectual stimulation, are consistent with their personality, and that provide a challenge in diagnosis. From our focus group discussions it appears that lifestyle, role models, mentorship and the experience of the resident with the specialty appear to be equally important in career decisions. Males are more likely to choose procedure based specialties and are more concerned with the reputation of the specialty as well as the anticipated salary. In contrast, residents choosing non-procedure based specialties are more concerned with issues related to lifestyle, including work-related stress, work hours and time for leisure as well as the patient populations they are treating.
Conclusion
This study suggests that internal medicine trainees, and particularly males, are increasingly choosing procedure-based specialties while non-procedure based specialties, and in particular general internal medicine, are losing appeal. We need to implement strategies to ensure positive rotation experiences, exposure to role models, improved lifestyle and job satisfaction as well as payment schedules that are equitable between disciplines in order to attract residents to less popular career choices.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-37
PMCID: PMC2446387  PMID: 18582381
3.  Career Choice in Academic Medicine: Systematic Review 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2006;21(12):1222-1229.
OBJECTIVES
To review systematically the evidence about what factors influence the decision to choose or not choose a career in academic medicine.
DESIGN
A systematic review of relevant literature from 1990 to May 2005.
DATA SOURCES
Searches of The Cochrane Library, Medline (using Ovid and PubMed) from 1990 to May 2005, and EMBASE from 1990 to May 2005 were completed to identify relevant studies that explored the influential factors. Additional articles were identified from searching the bibliographies of retrieved articles.
SELECTION OF STUDIES
We attempted to identify studies that included residents, fellows, or staff physicians. No restrictions were placed on the study methodologies identified and all articles presenting empirical evidence were retrieved. For cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies, minimum inclusion criteria were the presence of defined groups, and the ability to extract relevant data. For surveys that involved case series, minimum inclusion criteria were a description of the population, and the availability of extractable data. Minimum inclusion criteria for qualitative studies were descriptions of the sampling strategy and methods.
RESULTS
The search identified 251 abstracts; 25 articles were included in this review. Completion of an MD with a graduate degree or fellowship program is associated with a career in academic medicine. Of the articles identified in this review, this finding is supported by the highest quality of evidence. Similarly, the completion of research and publication of this research in medical school and residency are associated with a career in academic medicine. The desire to teach, conduct research, and the intellectual stimulation and challenge provided in academia may also persuade people to choose this career path. The influence of a role model or a mentor was reported by physicians to impact their decision making. Trainees' interest in academic medicine wanes as they progress through their residency.
CONCLUSIONS
In order to revitalize academic medicine, we must engage trainees and retain their interest throughout their training. Research opportunities for medical students, and fellowships or graduate training can meet this challenge and influence career choice. Initiatives to stimulate and maintain interest in academic medicine should be evaluated in prospective studies across multiple sites.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00599.x
PMCID: PMC1924755  PMID: 17105520
academic medicine; career choice

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