Purpose: To examine changing levels of interest in primary care as related to clinical experiences during medical school, and to other variables.
Method: A total of 1,911 (74%) allopathic medical school graduates responded to a national survey in early 1993. Respondents' reported changes of interest in primary care during medical school were cross-tabulated with their clinical experiences in medical school, their demographics, their interests prior to medical school, and their future practice plans.
Results: Increased interest in primary care during medical school was strongly associated with the electives taken in primary care. This positive change of interest in primary care was found to be associated with interest prior to medical school and with primary care career plans.
Conclusion: Schools wishing to graduate more students who enter primary care specialties may want to raise the number of primary care elective courses to increase students' interests, and to help them choose to enter and remain in primary care specialties.