Print this page Email this page Users Online: 843 | Click here to view old website
Home About us Editorial Board Search Current Issue Archives Submit Article Author Instructions Contact Us Login 
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 331

Why a Medical Career and What Makes a Good Doctor? Beliefs of Incoming United States Medical Students

Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia, USA

Correspondence Address:
R A Gillies
HB 3041 Medical College of Georgia, Augusta GA, 30912-3500
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20029768

Introduction: Beginning medical students' beliefs about the medical profession have been well studied internationally but have only been minimally studied in the United States (U.S.) recently. Up-to-date research on U.S. medical students' beliefs is warranted so educators can employ these predispositions as a baseline for curriculum and student professional development. Methods: We conducted focus groups with a first-year class (n=189) of U.S. medical students at the beginning of their academic year. In an iterative theming process, investigators worked in dyads and subsequently as a group to develop a list of preliminary themes expressed in the focus groups. Investigators individually sorted preliminary themes into similar categories. All sorted preliminary themes and categories were placed in a matrix from which final themes were derived. Findings: Investigators found eight themes for the question "Why pursue a career in medicine?" and six themes for "What makes a good doctor?" . Students expected medicine to be intellectually and personally fulfilling, they expected to be respected by the community, indicated that early experiences with medicine impacted their career choices, and anticipated that a medical career would yield financial security. A good doctor was described as a committed, smart, decisive leader who enthusiastically partners with patients via effective interpersonal skills. Discussion: Beginning U.S. medical students hold multi-faceted beliefs about medicine that are similar to international medical students' beliefs. Themes related to patient-centeredness, decisive leadership, and intellectual curiosity have particular utility in curriculum and professional development and should not be ignored. Administrators seeking to expand the physician workforce should consider early experiences, status, and monetary rewards.

Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded283    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal