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Factors associated with the specialty choice of Korean medical students: a cross-sectional survey

Cited 5 time in Web of Science Cited 5 time in Scopus
Authors
Kim, Yeon-Yong; Kim, Un-Na; Kim, Yon Su; Lee, Jin-Seok
Issue Date
2016-07-22
Publisher
BioMed Central
Citation
Human Resources for Health, 14(1):45
Keywords
Health manpowerMedical educationMedical specialtiesSpecialty choice
Abstract
Background
An imbalance of physician supply by medical specialty has been observed in most countries. In Korea, there is a greater tendency to avoid surgical specialties and specialty choices in nonclinical medicine, such as the basic science of medicine. In this study, we identified factors affecting the specialty choice of physicians in order to provide a basis for policies to address this problem.

Methods
We used the results of a 2013 nationwide survey of 12 709 medical students (82.7 % responded) to analyze the data of 9499 students after excluding missing data. Descriptive analyses of all students’ specialty choice were performed. Logistic regression was performed by selecting gender, age, grade level, type of medical school, hometown, and the location of the medical school as the independent variables. Medical specialty was the dependent variable. The dependent variable, or specialty of medicine, was categorized into three groups: nonclinical/clinical medicine, surgical-medical specialty, and controllable lifestyle specialty.

Results
The order of preferred medical specialties was internal medicine, psychiatry, and pediatrics; for surgical specialties, the order was orthopedic surgery, general surgery, and ophthalmology. Medical specialties were most favored by women and students in the third (men) and second (women) year of the medical program, whereas surgical specialties were most preferred by men and students in the first year of the program. Students in the third year mostly favored nonclinical medicine. Medical college students had a stronger preference for nonclinical medicine (odds ratio [OR] 1.625, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.139–2.318) than graduate medical school students. Surgical specialties were more favored by men (OR 2.537, 95 % CI 2.296–2.804) than by women. However, they were favored less by medical college students (OR 0.885, 95 % CI 0.790–0.991) than by graduate medical school students and by medical students in metropolitan areas (OR 0.892, 95 % CI 0.806–0.988) than by medical students in nonmetropolitan areas. A controllable lifestyle specialty was less favored by men (OR 0.802, 95 % CI 0.730–0.881) than by women.

Conclusions
Based on these results, we can evaluate the effectiveness of the government’s educational policies for solving the imbalance of physician supply and provide empirical evidence to understand and solve this problem.
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/109792
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-016-0141-8
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Health Policy and Management (의료관리학전공)Journal Papers (저널논문_의료관리학전공)
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