- Swiss residents' speciality choices – impact of gender, personality traits, career motivation and life goals
Swiss residents' speciality choices – impact of gender, personality traits, career motivation and life goals
Barbara Buddeberg-Fischer1, Richard Klaghofer1, Thomas Abel2 and Claus Buddeberg1
1Department of Psychosocial Medicine, Zurich University Hospital, Haldenbachstrasse 18, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Health Research, University of Bern, Niesenweg 6, CH-8013 Bern, Switzerland
BMC Health Services Research 2006,
6:137doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-137. [Open Access]
The medical specialities chosen by doctors for their careers play an important part in the development of health-care services. This study aimed to investigate the influence of gender, personality traits, career motivation and life goal aspirations on the choice of medical speciality.
As part of a prospective cohort study of Swiss medical school graduates on career development, 522 fourth-year residents were asked in what speciality they wanted to qualify. They also assessed their career motivation and life goal aspirations. Data concerning personality traits such as sense of coherence, self-esteem, and gender role orientation were collected at the first assessment, four years earlier, in their final year of medical school. Data analyses were conducted by univariate and multivariate analyses of variance and covariance.
In their fourth year of residency 439 (84.1%) participants had made their speciality choice. Of these, 45 (8.6%) subjects aspired to primary care, 126 (24.1%) to internal medicine, 68 (13.0%) to surgical specialities, 31 (5.9%) to gynaecology & obstetrics (G&O), 40 (7.7%) to anaesthesiology/intensive care, 44 (8.4%) to paediatrics, 25 (4.8%) to psychiatry and 60 (11.5%) to other specialities. Female residents tended to choose G&O, paediatrics, and anaesthesiology, males more often surgical specialities; the other specialities did not show gender-relevant differences of frequency distribution. Gender had the strongest significant influence on speciality choice, followed by career motivation, personality traits, and life goals. Multivariate analyses of covariance indicated that career motivation and life goals mediated the influence of personality on career choice. Personality traits were no longer significant after controlling for career motivation and life goals as covariates. The effect of gender remained significant after controlling for personality traits, career motivation and life goals.
Gender had the greatest impact on speciality and career choice, but there were also two other relevant influencing factors, namely career motivation and life goals. Senior physicians mentoring junior physicians should pay special attention to these aspects. Motivational guidance throughout medical training should not only focus on the professional career but also consider the personal life goals of those being mentored.
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