Many Doctors in Specialties Other Than Their Early ChoicesLast Updated: July 07, 2010. Ten years after graduation, approximately one-fourth of doctors work in a specialty other than the one they chose in their third year post-graduation, according to research published online July 6 in BMJ.
WEDNESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Ten years after graduation, approximately one-fourth of doctors work in a specialty other than the one they chose in their third year post-graduation, according to research published online July 6 in BMJ.
Michael J. Goldacre, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed early career choices of 15,759 doctors who qualified in 1974, 1977, 1983, 1993, and 1996, as well as their career destinations 10 years after they graduated. The researchers surveyed all the doctors one and three years after graduation, and 12,108 doctors five years after graduation, to compare the choices of specialties at each of these time points with career destinations 10 years after graduation.
In the 1993 and 1996 cohorts, the researchers found that career destinations matched choices after graduation for 1,890 of 3,508 doctors in year one (54 percent), for 2,494 of 3,579 doctors in year three (70 percent), and for 2,916 of 3,524 doctors (83 percent) in year five. The results were similar for the cohort of doctors who qualified in 1974, 1977, and 1983 -- at 53 percent for year one choices, 74 percent for year three, and 82 percent for year five. The researchers found that the rates varied by specialty, with rates consistently high for surgery. Career destinations matched with year one choices for 722 of 982 (74 percent) doctors who specified a definite specialty choice in year one.
"Goldacre and colleagues' findings may strengthen the argument that the existing two year foundation program followed by two or three years of core specialist training may provide the necessary flexibility to match and underpin the natural variation in career aspirations for many postgraduate doctors," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.
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