Role Models' Influence on Specialty Choice for Residency Training: A National Longitudinal Study.
Background : Role models in medical school may influence students' residency specialty choice. Objective : We examined whether medical students who reported clinical exposure to a role model during medical school would have an increased likelihood of selecting the role model's specialty for their residencies. Methods : We conducted a 5-year prospective, national longitudinal study (2011-2016) of medical students from 24 US allopathic medical schools, starting from the middle of their third year. The primary outcome measure was type of residency specialty choice 4 years after graduation. Main predictors were the clinical specialty of a student's most admired physician and the relative importance of 7 potentially influential factors for specialty choice in the fourth year of medical school. Results : From 919 eligible participants, 564 (61%) responded to the first survey; 474 of the respondents (84%) completed the follow-up survey. We excluded 29 participants who were not in their fourth year by the time of the follow-up survey. Of the follow-up respondents, 427 (96%) had specialty data 4 years after graduation. In our multivariate models, exposure to an admired generalist physician prior to medical school (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-4.73) and during medical school (OR = 2.62, 95% CI 1.69-4.05) had the strongest odds with respect to training in a generalist residency 4 years after graduation. Role model exposure also predicted specialty choice among those training in surgical and radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, and dermatology (ROAD) specialties. Conclusions : Personal exposure to role models in medical school is an important predictor of residency training in that role model's specialty.
Yoon, JD; Ham, SA; Reddy, ST; Curlin, FA
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