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What factors influenced the choice of medical specialty for doctors surveyed in the final year at medical school and again having entered their specialty training destination?
  1. Elaine McNaughton,
  2. James Riches,
  3. Graeme Harrison,
  4. Gary Mires,
  5. Caroline MacEwen
  1. NHS Education for Scotland, East Region, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elaine McNaughton, NHS Education for Scotland, East Region, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK; emcnaughton{at}

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An overall shortfall in the number of medical graduates for current service demand and the desire for more flexibility, coupled with more rigid postgraduate medical training pathways, have emphasised the need to improve careers guidance at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Decision-making in medical careers has become of growing interest particularly with current and anticipated future shortages of doctors in some areas of medical practice.

The need to understand why and how junior doctors decide on their specialty of choice has never been more relevant in establishing if these decisions can be influenced towards areas in greatest need of increased manpower. Evidence on the factors influencing medical careers continues to evolve, but there remains limited information on whether these influences change for individual doctors over time.

A small cohort study at University of Dundee Medical school set out to explore prospectively how the influences on specialty choice change as medical trainees progress through their training journey. Questionnaires to examine career intentions and the factors …

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