Objective: To describe the views of young physicians (younger than age 45 years) regarding the appropriateness of specific aspects of medical training that have often been criticized as inadequate.
Design: Proportional analysis of survey data, stratified by medical school type and graduate medical education specialty and adjusted for demographics.
Setting: National sample of 4756 allopathic and osteopathic physicians trained in allopathic residencies representing a variety of practice settings.
Dependent variables: Overall satisfaction with medical training, including medical school through residency and fellowship; satisfaction with preparedness for five aspects of practice and six types of patients; and satisfaction with the amount of time spent in each of six training settings.
Results: Eighty percent of young physicians reported that their formal medical training did an excellent or good job of preparing them for medical practice. Much smaller proportions (21% to 78%) reported excellent or good preparation to treat specific conditions or types of patients, and few (3%) reported being well prepared to manage business aspects of practice. Large proportions (35% to 63%) would prefer to have received more training in settings outside of hospitals, including managed care settings (67%). Significant differences in preparedness were observed by type of training; those trained in general and family practice reported better preparedness along many dimensions than did those trained in general internal medicine.
Conclusions: Young physicians generally confirm critiques of medical training noted by scholars and commissions. Health care reform is likely to increase the urgency for remedial action.