Objective: To determine the level of interest in and perceptions of the field of internal medicine-pediatrics among third-year medical students.
Design: A questionnaire was sent to medical students assessing their career choices, how they envision their future practices, the importance of selected professional goals in relation to their career choices, and their impressions of the likelihood of achieving these goals in given medical fields.
Setting: Two large Midwestern medical schools.
Participants: Medical students at the end of their third year.
Results: Three hundred of 425 students (70%) participated. One hundred thirty-three students (44%) chose a primary care field as their first choice. Seventy-one (54% of the 133) chose internal medicine-pediatrics as their first, second, or third choice. Students rated the likelihood of achieving certain professional goals by specialty. Internal medicine-pediatrics was ranked almost identically with internal medicine and pediatrics. However, internal medicine-pediatrics differed from family medicine in that it was ranked higher in intellectual stimulation, association with interesting colleagues, attaining a position of leadership, entering a respected profession, and involvement in science and research (p less than 0.0001).
Conclusions: The field of internal medicine-pediatrics attracts significant interest among medical students and is viewed as similar to internal medicine and less similar to family medicine.