Career Choice of Medical Students and Recent Medical Graduates Studies on factors of influence in a longitudinal trajectory

S. Querido

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 2 (Research NOT UU / Graduation UU)

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The purpose of medical school is to train students to become medical doctors and to supply enough doctors to fulfill the needs of society. Medical graduates tend to prefer some specialties over others. This can lead to an imbalance between the needs of society and the choices of medical students.
The research question addressed is: How do medical students and graduates make their career choice?
To gain insight into factors affecting career preference and choice we performed a longitudinal qualitative interview study among medical students at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Also, a survey was conducted among graduates who dropped out of residency.
The main conclusion is that only clinical responsibilities foster deep experience of a medical specialty and awareness of one’s own needs. Our findings confirmed that clinical responsibility supports medical students in determining their career preferences. We also found that clinical responsibilities for graduates are pivotal to make a specialty career choice. We found that residents without specialty clinical experience prior to postgraduate training are more likely to drop out of residency. This research also distinguished three different career paths of medical students and graduates presenting stability of career choice during medical education.
As some specialties have to deal with shortages, the career preferences of medical students have to change in order to fulfill society’s healthcare needs. We suggest medical students and recent graduates to experience clinical responsibilities, especially within their preferred specialty. Students and graduates can benefit from career choice guidance and this will support them to make their career choice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht
  • ten Cate, Olle, Primary supervisor
  • Wigersma, L., Co-supervisor
  • M.E.J, de Rond, Co-supervisor
Award date21 Jan 2021
Print ISBNs978-94-6416-180-9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Career choice
  • career preference
  • medical students
  • residents
  • medical specialties
  • drop out


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