Choosing a career in combined internal medicine-pediatrics: insights from interns

Fam Med. 2007 May;39(5):326-30.


Background: Combined internal medicine-pediatrics (med-peds) programs may be competing for the same students who would have otherwise chosen family medicine. The degree to which this is happening is not known.

Methods: We sent an eight-item questionnaire to new med-peds interns to assess their career plans at different stages of their decision making. Questionnaires were mailed to the directors of all US med-peds programs in 2002.

Results: A total of 288/333 (87%) responded. The med-peds interns were more likely to be interested in internal medicine or pediatrics than they were in family medicine. If med-peds were not available, only 52/286 (18%) would have chosen family medicine as an alternative. A total of 55/288 (19%) anticipated practicing in rural areas.

Conclusions: The majority of med-peds interns would have chosen internal medicine or pediatrics if med-peds was not available. A small percentage would have chosen family medicine, thus having a minor impact on recruitment. An even smaller proportion would have chosen a non-primary care specialty. A sizable number anticipate practicing in rural areas.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Career Choice*
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Electronic Mail
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physician Executives
  • Rural Health Services
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Urban Health Services
  • Workforce