Background: Recruitment to general practice is a major concern in many countries. Cross-national exploration of motivation for career choice and career satisfaction could help inform workforce planning.
Objectives: Our aim was to explore motivation for career choice and job satisfaction of GP trainees and newly qualified GPs (NQGP) across seven European countries.
Methods: We surveyed GP trainees and recently qualified GPs in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom using a web-based questionnaire.
Results: The number of individuals who responded was 3722 (2533 GP trainees; 1189 NQGP). The most frequently cited reasons for choosing GP were 'compatibility with family life' (59.5%), 'challenging medically broad discipline' (58.9%), 'individual approach to people' (40.1%), 'holistic approach' (37.8%) and 'autonomy and independence' (30.4%). Despite differences in workload, work-life balance and earnings, overall job satisfaction was high, with over 80% saying that they would choose to be a doctor again; of these 78.4% would choose to be a GP again.
Conclusion: In our sample reasons for choosing general practice as a career were strongly positive, with compatibility with family life the most frequently cited reason overall. This has implications for workforce planning. Further qualitative studies are needed to explore issues raised in more detail.