Background Residency is an important time for career planning. Little is known about how trainees make career decisions during this formative period.
Objective The objective of this study was to understand whether ‘design thinking’ activities help to inform Internal Medicine–Paediatrics (Med-Peds) residents’ career decisions.
Methods We performed a cross-sectional survey of a national sample of fourth-year Med-Peds residents in May–July 2019 covering intended career, helpfulness of ‘life design’ strategies used to inform career decision and confidence with intended career plans. Bivariate analyses were performed to evaluate associations between used strategies and confidence with career plans.
Results A total of 86/145 (59%) of residents responded to the survey. The most helpful activities for clarifying career decisions were immersive exposure to the career during residency, and reflecting on compatibility of careers with their views of life and work. Finding the right mentor was associated with higher confidence in one’s intended career path (p<0.05). There were no significant differences with confidence in intended career plan by gender or career path. Career decisions made during the first 2 years of residency were associated with higher confidence than those made prior to or in the second half of residency (p=0.01 and p=0.004).
Conclusion This national survey of graduating Med-Peds residents reveals that proactive life design strategies were helpful in bringing clarity to their decision and were associated with higher confidence in intended career plans. These data should be of interest to residency training programmes in their efforts to support trainees with their career decisions.
- medical education & training
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the author, ST, upon reasonable request.
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Contributors LC and SW developed the research idea and study and wrote the manuscript. LC collected the data. ST analysed the data. ST and SW edited the manuscript. SW supervised the study.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests SW receives support as the Anne Gaines and G. Thomas Miller Professor of Medicine through the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovative Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.