Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 38, Issue 5, May 2009

Choosing general practice as a career The influences of education and training

Narelle Shadbolt Jeremy Bunker
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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 a career.
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.

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