Residents' speciality choices at T3: Of the 522
physicians participating at the third assessment, 83 (15.9%) had not
yet decided in which speciality they wanted to qualify. The remaining
439 residents had decided to qualify in the following specialities: 45
(8.6%) in primary care, 126 (24.1%) in internal medicine (including all
sub-specialities of internal medicine), 68 (13.0%) in surgical
disciplines, 31 (5.9%) in gynaecology & obstetrics, 40 (7.7%) in
anaesthesiology and intensive care, 44 (8.4%) in paediatrics, 25 (4.8%)
in psychiatry, and 60 (11.5%) in other specialities (such as
dermatology, ENT, neurology, ophthalmology, radiology). The
participants had a list of all 43 officially acknowledged medical
specialities in Switzerland, marked with a code number, which they
could fill in answering the question concerning the speciality choice.
The development of residents' speciality choices is shown in Figure 2.
At the end of medical school 60% of the female and 51% of the male
graduates had made their speciality choice. In their second year of
residency, 71% of the female and 64% of the male residents had decided,
and in the fourth year of residency, 83% of the female and 84% of the
male participants named their speciality aspired to. The distribution
of the different specialities within the gender group did not change
much between the three measurements. However, the distribution of the
specialities aspired to by the study participants is different from the
speciality distribution represented by the working doctors who
hold a speciality qualification. Compared to all working female
specialists, there are significantly fewer female residents aspiring to
become primary care physicians and psychiatrists; also the group of
other specialities is smaller. It might be that some of the still
undecided residents will choose one of those specialities later on.
Looking at the male participants, fewer residents want to become
primary care physicians, internists or psychiatrists but significantly
more want to go into surgical disciplines compared to working male
The speciality choice depending on gender in the study sample at T3 is listed in Table 3.
Male residents more often chose surgical specialities, whereas females
decided on paediatrics, gynaecology & obstetrics (G&O), and
anaesthesiology. In the group of other specialities there was no
relevant gender-different distribution.
Residents' characteristics depending on speciality aspired to are shown in Table 4.
Participants choosing surgical specialities or anaesthesiology
comparably show the highest scores for sense of coherence, self-esteem
and instrumentality; psychiatry residents give low scores on these
three personality scales. With regard to the scores for expressiveness
there are no significant differences between the groups. Physicians
aspiring to surgical specialities have comparatively high values for
intrinsic and extrinsic career motivation, but low values for
extraprofessional concerns. Primary care physicians and psychiatrists
rate extraprofessional concerns comparatively high. The life goal
'intimacy' is especially important for G&Os. Physicians in the
surgical specialities as well as in G&O attach particular
importance to 'power'. Future primary care physicians assess the life
goal 'achievement' lowest. Subjects pursuing internal medicine show
medium level values on all scales.
The multivariate analyses of the influence of gender,
personality traits, career motivation and importance of life goals is
shown in Table 5.
The effect of gender remained significant after controlling for
personality traits, career motivation and life goals as covariates. The
same does not apply to the influence of personality traits on the
speciality choice after controlling for career motivation and life
goals. In other words, there are no direct significant influences of
personality traits on the speciality choice. This means that career
motivation and life goals can be considered as mediator variables.