Purpose: The purpose of this study was to implement a systematic career coaching program for medical students and to evaluate its effectiveness.
Methods: First-year medical students of Konyang University College of Medicine took part in the FLEX Mentoring II: Career Coaching Program from September to December in 2016 and 2017. This program included 16 weekly sessions, comprising a total of 32 hours. The students took the Career Readiness Inventory before and after the program, as a pre- and post-test of the program. Data from 100 students were used (46 students in 2016, 54 students in 2017) for the evaluation.
Results: Medical students' career readiness pre-test was rated as medium. In particular, many students were at a low level in terms of 'support from colleagues and peers' (53.0%), 'career decision' (48.0%), and 'efforts for job preparation' (60.0%). After 16 sessions of a systematic career coaching program, their career readiness level showed a significant increase except for 'career decision' (t= 4.242, P= 0.001) and 'independence' (t= 0.731, P= 0.466), a sub-factor of 'career maturity.'
Conclusion: The career readiness level of medical students was not sufficiently high. However, a semester of educational training in a systematic career coaching program helped the students to be better prepared for their career. In particular, the significant reduction in the 'career decision' variable after the program can be interpreted as indicating that the students changed their behavior to explore and approach their career more seriously and carefully, which also underscores the need for the implementation of career coaching programs in medical schools.
Keywords: Career choice; Korea; Medical education; Mentoring; Professional.