Medical Students‘ Attitudes Towards Working in the Outpatient or Inpatient Sector and as Country Doctor

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0106-0111

german translation / full article

Antonia Bien, Ferdinand M. Gerlach, Michael Paulitsch, Gisela Ravens-Taeuber, Nadja Becker, Linda Barthen

Keywords: choice of specialization educational research family medicine medical students specialist training

Background: Despite interest among medical students in family medicine, there is a shortage of new recruits, especially in rural areas. To understand why only a small percentage decide to specialize in family medicine, we investigated students‘ attitudes to working in the outpatient and inpatient sectors, and as country doctors.Methods: 2015/16 a questionnaire survey was carried out among students at the three medical faculties in Hesse. Descriptive analyses, confidence intervals and logistic regression were used to identify factors linked to an interest in working as family practitioners in a rural region.Results: Bureaucracy, financial risk, little communication with other doctors and medical malpractice claims were reasons for not setting up in private practice, shift work the main reason not to work in a hospital. 42 % of students showed an interest in working as a country doctor, which was increased by studying in rural areas, rural background or interest in working in family medicine. A family-friendly environment and intensive patient contact were the main reasons given for working in family medicine in the country; a long commute and less personal privacy were the main reasons against it. Students interested in working in family medicine showed greater patient orientation and interest in their work-life balance.Conclusions: In order to increase interest in working as a country doctor students should be encouraged to gain medical experience in rural areas. Positively assessed aspects of working as a country doctor must be emphasized and reasons against setting up in private practice or working in the country should be dispelled.

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