Doctors currently in jobs with academic content and their future intentions to pursue clinical academic careers: questionnaire surveys

JRSM Open. 2015 Mar 2;6(2):2054270414567523. doi: 10.1177/2054270414567523. eCollection 2015 Feb.


Objectives: Our aim was to report on doctors' descriptions of their current post at about 12 years after qualification, in respect of academic content, and to compare this with their long-term intentions. By academic content, we mean posts that are designated as clinical academic posts or clinical service posts that include research and/or teaching commitments.

Design: Questionnaire survey.

Participants: All UK medical graduates of 1996 contacted in 2007, graduates of 1999 in 2012, and graduates of 2000 in 2012.

Setting: UK.

Main outcome measures: Responses about current posts and future intentions.

Method: Postal and email questionnaires.

Results: The response rate was 61.9% (6713/10844). Twenty eight per cent were working in posts with academic content (3.3% as clinical academics, 25% in clinical posts with some academic content). Seventeen per cent of women were working in clinical posts with some teaching and research, compared with 29% of men. A higher percentage of men than women intended to be clinical academics as their eventual career choice (3.9% overall, 5.4% of men, 2.7% of women). More doctors wished to move to a job with an academic component than away from one (N = 824 compared with 236). This was true for both men (433 compared with 118) and women (391 compared with 118).

Conclusions: Women are under-represented both in holding posts with academic content and in aspirations to do so. It is noteworthy that many more doctors hoped to move into an academic role than to move out of one. Policy should facilitate this wish in order to address current shortfalls in clinical academic medicine.

Keywords: career choice; clinical academic; medical education; medical faculty; workforce.