Junior doctors' views about careers in academic medicine

Med Educ. 1999 May;33(5):318-26. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.1999.00404.x.


Objective: To investigate junior doctors' views about careers in academic medicine.

Design: Postal questionnaire survey.

Setting: National Health Service in England.

Subjects: Doctors in university posts at specialist registrar level, Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust training fellows, and specialist registrars in National Health Service posts.

Results: Incentives to pursue an academic career which respondents rated as strong related to the challenge of research and the intellectual environment of research units. The strongest disincentives were perceived difficulties in obtaining research grants and uncertainty regarding pay parity with National Health Service colleagues. Medical Research Council and Wellcome fellows had much more protected research time than other academic doctors but were less satisfied with their clinical training. Academic doctors who were not fellows reported spending less than half their time on research and the great majority agreed that their research suffers when there is pressure on the service side.

Conclusions: The job content of academic posts should be kept under regular review to ensure that clinical service pressures do not inappropriately erode research time while also ensuring that postholders have adequate clinical training. Training programmes need flexibility to accommodate the needs of clinical academics in their progress through higher specialist training.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Choice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital* / education
  • Research*
  • State Medicine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom