Career choices for public health: cohort studies of graduates from UK medical schools

J Public Health (Oxf). 2011 Dec;33(4):616-23. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdr067. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Abstract

Background: The aim of this paper is to describe UK-trained doctors' early intentions about seeking careers in public health and their eventual speciality destinations.

Methods: Analysis of longitudinal studies of medical graduates from all UK medical schools in selected year-of-qualification cohorts from 1974 to 2008; data collected by postal questionnaires at various times after qualifying; and selection, for this paper, of doctors who expressed an early preference for a career in public health and/or who eventually practised in it.

Results: Of all doctors eventually practising in public health, for whom we had early choices, public health had been the unreserved first choice of 8% (10/125) in their first post-qualification year, 27% (33/122) in their third year and 59% (51/86) in their fifth year. Including first choices for public health 'tied' with an equal preference for a different speciality, and doctors' second and third choices for public health, 19% (24/125) of practising public health doctors had considered public health as a possible career in their first post-graduation year, 41% (50/122) in the third and 83% (71/86) in the fifth year.

Conclusions: Comparisons with other specialities show that doctors in public health chose their speciality relatively late after qualification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health / trends
  • United Kingdom