Who Are Our Future Surgeons? Characteristics of Medical School Graduates Planning Surgical Careers: Analysis of the 1997 to 2004 Association of American Medical Colleges' Graduation Questionnaire National Database

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Abstract

Background: Identification of correlates of contemporary US medical graduates' surgical career plans can provide insights about the emerging surgical workforce composition and inform future recruitment efforts. Study Design: We analyzed individualized records of 95,176 graduates who completed the 1997 to 2004 Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire for associations between planning a general-surgery or a surgical-specialty (orthopaedic surgery, neurologic surgery, plastic surgery, urology, or otolaryngology) career and a set of medical-school experience, professional-setting preference, and demographic variables. Results: Graduates who reported better quality of their surgery clerkship experience and career-setting preference of "university faculty" compared with "nonuniversity clinical practice" were more likely to plan general-surgery or surgical-specialty careers compared with nonsurgical careers (each p < 0.001). Women and graduates from combined MD/PhD programs and those who planned to practice in underserved areas were less likely to plan general-surgery or surgical-specialty careers compared with nonsurgical careers (each p < 0.001). Graduates of nonwhite race or ethnicity and from combined MD/other-degree (non-PhD) programs were more likely to plan general-surgery careers (p < 0.001). Compared with 1997 graduates, 1998 to 2004 graduates were less likely to plan general-surgery careers than surgical-specialty careers (each p ≤ 0.001), and 1999 to 2004 graduates were more likely to plan surgical-specialty careers than nonsurgical careers (each p ≤ 0.006). Conclusions: Contemporary graduates planning surgical careers represent a relatively narrow spectrum of US medical graduates, and those planning general-surgery careers differ in numerous ways from those planning surgical-specialty careers. Targeted efforts are warranted to recruit US medical graduates qualified to meet the nation's future health-care needs and advance the profession of surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume203
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006

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