Objective: To examine the types of practices family medicine residents chose during the first 2 years after residency, and how these choices have changed over a 15-year period.
Design: Mailed survey.
Setting: Areas served by graduates of the Queen's University family medicine residency program.
Participants: Two hundred thirty (76%) of the 303 graduates from 1977 to 1991 of the Queen's University family medicine residency program responded to the questionnaire.
Main outcome measures: Type of practices residents entered immediately out of residency: whether they began full-time, part-time, locum tenens, or other type of practice; length of time spent in the first practice situation; and proportion of residents who had settled into a full-time practice within 2 years of completing residency.
Results: Residents who graduated before 1985 were significantly more likely to go into full-time practice immediately out of residency (P = .0001). The earlier residents had graduated from the program, the more likely they were to go immediately into full-time practice. This finding was not affected by residents' age, sex, size of community of origin, exposure to rural teaching sites, marital status, or how well prepared for practice they felt. Residents graduating before 1985 were also more likely to be in full-time practice within 2 years of completing their residency program (P = .003).
Conclusions: Recent family medicine residents did not enter full-time practice immediately out of residency as often as those who had graduated earlier, nor did they commit to full-time practice within 2 years of graduating as often as residents graduating before 1985 did.