The influence of medical school on career choice: A longitudinal study of students’ attitudes toward a career in general surgery

Chandrakanth Are, Hugh A. Stoddard, Kari L. Nelson, Kathryn Huggett, Lauren Carpenter, Jon S Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Less than 80% of general surgery (GS) residency positions are filled by graduates from allopathic, U.S. medical schools. The aim of this study was to gauge students' interest in pursuing GS throughout their medical school matriculation and explore students’ changing perceptions of the specialty. Methods: Students at two medical schools were surveyed annually for 4 years. Survey responses regarding interest were compared to actual NRMP match results. Results: Interest in a GS career was highest at the outset of medical school and declined steadily during the program, which was similar at both schools, including a positive effect on interest from the surgical clerkship. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that experiences during medical school impact students' perceptions of GS; specifically, lifestyle, work environment, and the length of training discouraged pursuit of GS. Perception of a GS's lifestyle and the educational environment are both highly modifiable factors that could increase interest in general surgery amongst graduates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1222
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this