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Choosing family medicine. What influences medical students?

Author(s): Jordan J | Brown JB | Russell G

Journal: Canadian Family Physician
ISSN 0008-350X

Volume: 49;
Issue: 9;
Start page: 1131;
Date: 2003;
Original page

OBJECTIVE: To explore factors that influence senior medical students to pursue careers in family medicine. DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews. SETTING: University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London. PARTICIPANTS: Eleven of 29 graduating UWO medical students matched to Canadian family medicine residency programs beginning in July 2001. METHOD: Eleven semistructured interviews were conducted with a maximum variation sample of medical students. Interviews were transcribed and reviewed independently, and a constant comparative approach was used by the team to analyze the data. MAIN FINDINGS: Family physician mentors were an important influence on participants' decisions to pursue careers in family medicine. Participants followed one of three pathways to selecting family medicine: from an early decision to pursue family medicine, from initial uncertainty about career choice, or from an early decision to specialize and a change of mind. CONCLUSION: The perception of a wide scope of practice attracts candidates to family medicine. Having more family medicine role models early in medical school might encourage more medical students to select careers in family medicine.
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