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Authors Pinchot S, Lewis BJ, Weber SM, Rikkers LF, Chen H
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Journal J. Surg. Res. Volume: 147 Issue: 2 Pages: 253-9
Publish Date 2008 Jun 15
PubMed ID 18440026

For nearly two decades, interest in general surgery has been declining among U.S. medical school graduates. Many factors appear to be important in a medical student’s choice of a surgical residency and career. We hypothesized that previous exposure to family members who are surgeons would significantly influence a student’s decision to pursue a career in surgery.Since 2001, nearly 600 third-year medical students completing the general surgery clerkship were issued a pre- and post-clerkship survey. Responses were collected, retrospectively analyzed, and correlated to the 2001-2007 National Residency Matching Program match results.The response rate of students completing both surveys was 87% (n = 510). Based on a numeric scale, surgical progeny (SP) indicated a significantly higher likelihood than nonsurgical progeny (NSP) of pursing a surgical career/residency in the pre-clerkship period (SP mean, 5.1 +/- 0.42; NSP mean, 3.7 +/- 0.11; P = 0.0005). Post-clerkship, SPs noted no more enjoyment from the surgical clerkship than NSPs (SP mean, 7.2 +/- 0.25; NSP mean, 6.9 +/- 0.96; P = 0.91); furthermore, there was no difference in the percentage of students pursuing a surgical residency (categorical or surgical subspecialty) in the National Residency Matching Program match (SP, 12.5%; NSP, 12.7%; P = 1.00).These data suggest that previous exposure to a surgeon within the family positively influences a medical student’s pre-clerkship interest in pursuing a surgical career. However, this interest is not sustained; SPs and NSPs match into surgical residencies at equivalent rates. Clearly, further studies are needed to identify the factors responsible for this phenomenon. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System