Who wants to be a GP? An examination of the Medical Schools Outcomes Database
Keywords:career choices, age, gender, marital status, children, place of birth, language, rurality, medical school
Background: There is currently a shortage of general practitioners in Australia. For this study, the authors used the Medical Schools Outcomes Database to examine: 1) whether attributes previously identified as being associated with an interest in pursuing a career in general practice (GP) hold true at commencement and completion of a medical degree, and at completion of the first postgraduate year (PGY1); 2) whether the medical school that a student attended is associated with a preference for GP; and 3) the consistency, over time, of GP preferences.
Methods: Information regarding students’/interns’ demographics and career preferences at three points in time (commencement, completion and PGY1) were obtained from the Medical Schools Outcomes Database & Longitudinal Tracking Project database.
Results: Many attributes, including the medical school attended, were associated with a GP preference. Preferences for general practice were not consistent over the three time periods examined.
Conclusion: Targeting potential medical students with attributes associated with a preference for general practice is unlikely to alleviate Australia’s general practitioner shortage because preferences for general practice are not stable over time.
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