In Australia, most medical students graduate without a firm career
choice, with this decision being made during their early postgraduate
years. Strategies addressing the current lack of meaningful exposure
to general practice during these formative prevocational years
are likely to be the most effective in increasing the proportion and
number of entrants to general practice.
This review summarises the influences of medical student selection
criteria, curriculum, geographical location, timing and duration of
general practice exposure and experience, prevocational experience,
and vocational training, on an eventual choice of general practice as
These are important influences on the complex process of career
choice. Much research has focused on isolated interventions at one
point along the pipeline. Varied and conflicting conclusions emerge
from individual studies. In complex systems it is hard to understand
the influence of an isolated intervention without looking at the system
as a whole.
This review draws from the conventional literature. It was performed as part of a larger study that also used stakeholder interviews, grey literature (reports, position papers, planning documents and nonpeer reviewed findings) and opinion summaries, and reviews of the marketing and consumer choice literature, to report on the determinants of career choice.
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