The Impact Of Undergraduate Teaching On The Career Choice Of Junior Doctors

McGlacken-Byrne, S.M. and Murphy, S. (2013) The Impact Of Undergraduate Teaching On The Career Choice Of Junior Doctors. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


Background The Basic Specialist Training applications open to first year doctors (interns) early in intern year and determine eventual career pathway. Interns’ experience of the medical profession is largely based on the six years spent as an undergraduate. We looked at the influence of undergraduate teaching on the career choice of junior doctors. METHODS A questionnaire was distributed to interns in 3 major teaching hospitals within 6 months of graduation. Using a Likert scale, this assessed whether undergraduate teaching in their chosen speciality influenced their decision. Factors assessed included the structure and the timing of undergraduate modules and the impact of exposure to clinicians and university teachers during their undergraduate training. RESULTS 95% of interns (n=45) approached completed the survey. 91.1% of interns had a working career plan. Popular career choices included Paediatrics (29.3%), Medicine (19.5%), General Practice (19.5%), medical subspecialities (9.8%) and Surgery (7.3%). 87.8% agreed that their choice was influenced by undergraduate teaching. All aspects of undergraduate teaching assessed were identified as influential. 53.7% felt that the timing of their exposure to a subject influenced their decision to choose it as a career, with 58.6% believing that the structure of the undergraduate module influenced their decision. 75.6% agreed that exposure to clinicians in their area of interest influenced their career choice, with 56.1% strongly agreeing. Teachers at university influenced career choice in 61.1%. CONCLUSION Most interns have chosen their career pathway by the first 6 months of internship, and this is influenced by undergraduate training in the majority. Teachers and clinicians were the most influential factors. They are therefore ideally placed to improve the quality of undergraduate medical education. The data is overall encouraging, with a positive undergraduate teaching experience in a subject correlating with a decision to pursue it as a career. These data are also relevant to the less popular specialities in this study, such as surgery, as ncreasing clinician-student interaction in these fields could increase undergraduate interest in pursuing these specialities as a career.

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