Background: The decline in the number of medical students who choose a residency in family medicine may cause a shortage of family physicians. The choice of a medical career is a complex process influenced by many interwoven factors.
Objectives: To find out the level of interest in a residency in family medicine among medical students in one faculty of medicine in Israel (Technion) and to identify the factors related to family medicine preference.
Methods: A self administered questionnaire was distributed to medical students at the Technion. The students were asked to indicate their career choices and to rank the importance of 30 statements with regard to their choice. Factor analysis was performed to examine similar variables. A logistic regression was performed to examine the variables that predict family medicine choice.
Results: Of 496 students, 358 (72%) completed the questionnaire; 5.6% chose family medicine as a first residency option, and 24.9% chose it as one of their 3 first options. Research findings show that gender (female), marital status (non-single), religion (Jewish) and lack of previous health-related experience, predicted family medicine choice. The students that chose family medicine were more concerned with medical lifestyle, patients' population characteristics and societal commitment.
Conclusions: The number of students that prefer a residency in family medicine is low. Several factors predict family medicine preference. Correct identification of these factors could enable interventions to increase the number of students choosing family medicine. The current study should be continued at the Technion and should also be carried out in other faculties.