Doctor Superman is almost history

Part-time work and office hours are important factors for recent graduated medical students. These factors influence their choice for becoming a general practitioner and public or occupational health specialist. So not long from now 60-80 working hours per week as in the “Old Days” will be history. A larger percentage women choosing medical education enhances this trend.

Enthusing medical students for your specialism also works. The main factor for medical students for choosing a medical specialism is enthusiasm for that particular specialism. The second important factor is their experiences during their education and third their experiences working in that specialism e.g. as an intern.

1091 physicians who graduated between July 1999 and June 2002 from the (Vrije Universiteit) VU university in Amsterdam or the University Utrecht were sent a questionnaire in 2002. Among other information they were asked about the extent to which certain factors have influenced their career choice. Respondents were divided in three groups: clinical specialists, general practitioners and public or occupational health professionals.

The response was 70%, 68% were working in a specialty, 23% in general practice, 9% in public or occupational health, and 2% in another occupation. Of the respondents 64% was female and 36% male.

There were some differences between the three groups. For clinical specialist training the three most important factors influencing their choice was enthusiasm and interest in the specific field (98%), experiences during education (68%) and work experience after graduation (mostly internship)(46%).

For general practitioners also interest in the specific field was the main criterion (97%) and experiences during education (79%) second, but the third factor was the possibility for part-time work (64%).

For public and occupational health professionals the most important facor was working in office hours (88%) followed by possibility to work part-time (68%) and interest in the specific field (59%) was the third factor.

These factors influence career choices. Most important working during office hours and the possibility to work part-time. This will probably increase the coming years, something to consider for Universities and medical specialists and educators.

Article discussed:
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Carrièrewensen en beroepskeuze van recent afgestudeerde artsen
Soethout, M.B.M., Wal, G. van der en Cate, Th.J. ten
2007; 151(38); 2118-23