Exploring US internal medicine resident career preferences: a Q-methodology study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Career selection in medicine is a complex and underexplored process. Most medical career studies performed in the U.S. focused on the effect of demographic variables and medical education debt on career choice. Considering ongoing U.S. physician workforce shortages and the trilateral adaptive model of career decision making, a robust assessment of professional attitudes and work-life preferences is necessary. The objective of this study was to explore and define the dominant viewpoints related to career choice selection in a cohort of U.S. IM residents. We administered an electronic Q-sort in which 218 IM residents sorted 50 statements reflecting the spectrum of opinions that influence postgraduate career choice decisions. Participants provided comments that explained the reasoning behind their individual responses. In the final year of residency training, we ascertained participating residents' chosen career. Factor analysis grouped similar sorts and revealed four distinct viewpoints. We characterized the viewpoints as "Fellowship-Bound-Academic," "Altruistic-Longitudinal-Generalist," "Inpatient-Burnout-Aware," and "Lifestyle-Focused-Consultant." There is concordance between residents who loaded significantly onto a viewpoint and their ultimate career choice. Four dominant career choice viewpoints were found among contemporary U.S. IM residents. These viewpoints reflect the intersection of competing priorities, personal interests, professional identity, socio-economic factors, and work/life satisfaction. Better appreciation of determinants of IM residents' career choices may help address workforce shortages and enhance professional satisfaction.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roberts, JK; Schub, M; Singhal, S; Norwood, J; Cassini, T; Hudler, A; Ramadurai, D; Smith, CC; Desai, SS; Weintraub, J; Hasler, SH; Schwiesow, TM; Connors, GR; Didwania, A; Hargett, CW; Wolf, M

Published Date

  • October 20, 2022

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 36264447

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-1677

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10459-022-10172-0


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands