Shortage specialties: changes in career intentions from medical student to newly qualified doctor

Med Teach. 2004 Nov;26(7):650-4. doi: 10.1080/01421590400019591.


There is currently a shortage of doctors in Britain, especially in general practice, psychiatry and pathology. This study aimed to examine whether career intention, especially in the shortage specialties, changes between undergraduate level and graduation. The 234 participants were Senior House Officers and Pre-Registration House Officers, who had provided information about their career intentions in their fourth year of medical school. Participants completed a postal questionnaire about their current career intentions. 38.9% of medical students rising to 63.3% of doctors definitely intended to pursue a particular specialty. While the numbers of people who definitely wanted to pursue general practice and psychiatry increased, in line with nearly all other specialties, the overall attractiveness of these shortage specialties fell. Early career advice and support during medical school and immediately after graduation may help doctors to be confident in pursuing shortage specialties to which they were originally attracted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Choice*
  • Education, Medical
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Female
  • Health Workforce*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Specialization*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom