A new national study of medical students, their personalities, values and career aspirations will help inform future health workforce planning and assist in correcting doctor shortages in many communities.
The Griffith University study, funded in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery projects, will invite all medical schools around Australia to participate.
First and final year students from both undergraduate and graduate entry medical programs will be asked to undertake a number of web-based surveys over the course of the project.
The survey will assess future career aspirations and influences on choice of speciality, practice location, and preferred hours of work, and how those choices might change over time.
Chief investigator and Dean of Medicine at Griffith Professor Judy Searle said it was important to understand how and where future doctors wanted to work, in order to help address access issues for Australians in areas of health need.
"This is one of a number of new projects that will track the career choices of medical students and junior doctors and the factors that shape their decisions".
Personal and dispositional characteristics, demographics, values, wellbeing and environmental factors affecting career choices would also be evaluated and followed over time.
Professor Searle said chronic workforce shortages particularly outside metropolitan areas were worsening and threatened the health of underserved communities.
"Medical educators may also find this information useful to inform the development of student selection and curriculum interventions that help redress this problem of mal-distribution of doctors."
Other investigators on the project include Griffith's Head of Psychology Professor Peter Creed and School of Medicine research fellow Dr Mary Rogers.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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