AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Medical Specialty Selection Influences, Satisfaction, and Idealism within the Framework of Career Counseling

by Judith Davidson Henning

Institution: Cleveland State University
Department: College of Education and Human Services
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Academic Guidance Counseling; choosing a medical specialty area of practice
Record ID: 2058172
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=csu1428526833


Because of the amount of knowledge, cost of a medical school education, length of time specialty preparation requires, and the value of achieving career satisfaction, research into the specific area of career guidance assisting aspiring physicians choose a professionally rewarding area of medical practice is critically important. Past studies in this area of specialty choice examined specific variables such as personality or gender, or specific specialty areas such as primary care, or specific populations, most often the medical students themselves. This dissertation adds to the research by asking practicing physicians to complete a questionnaire designed specifically for this study to identify their major influences in selecting a specialty, if they were satisfied practicing their area of specialty and how their idealism was related to specialty and satisfaction. The mentor relationship emerged as a significant influence in the surgery/anesthesia physician group. Clerkship and high amount of patient contact were important for the primary care group while body system interest, high income potential, high demand for services, and interest in performing specific procedures were significant non-influences for this group. Interesting as well, was that the other influences of ability/skills and lifestyle expectations were not significantly different for any of the three groups which in addition to the two above included those in a medical specialist/subspecialty category. Primary care tended to be chosen by those who were older at graduation, those who graduated more recently and those who made their specialty decision earlier in their medical education. Medical Specialist/Subspecialty tended to be chosen by those who made a specialty choice later. Surgery/Anesthesia tended to be chosen by males and those who had higher debt. No significant differences in satisfaction levels among the different groups of physicians were found. None of the demographic differences in gender, age at graduation, debt level, having a physician parent, time of specialty choice or being born in the U.S. predicted later satisfaction levels. Generally, most physicians were satisfied in the practice of their specialty, the amount of patient contact they had, the amount of intellectual stimulation and their collegial interaction and tended to be a little less satisfied with levels of compensation and lifestyle demands. Physicians who saw themselves at the same level of idealism prior to medical school and after becoming a physician, were generally more satisfied with all aspects of their jobs. Those in the primary care groups rated themselves as being more idealistic compared to those in both surgery/anesthesia and medical specialties/subspecialties. Those in surgery/anesthesia rated their idealism as being the same as when they first chose to become a physician, as compared to those in primary care who rated themselves as currently less idealistic than when they chose to become a physician. The study further opens the door to additional research…