The Relation Between Place of Birth, Place of Medical School, and Subsequent Work as Family Physician
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Background: The career choice “family physician” (FP) and the geographical decision for a certain place to open a practice depend on numerous factors of which we currently know little. Based on the example of Bavaria the present study tries to clarify whether place of birth and place of medical school shape career choice and future place of practice location.Methods: The number of medical students graduating from Erlangen, Munich, Regensburg and Würzburg medical schools between 1996 and 2013 was obtained from the Bavarian State Office for Statistics. Information about birthplace, medical school, practice location, age at graduation, age at starting a practice as FP or community specialist were provided by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of Bavaria (KVB). A descriptive analysis was performed.Results: 25,628 students graduated between 1996 and 2013. 6098 of those (23.8%) practice in ambulatory care, 2015 (7.9 %) as FPs; 1514 (5.9 %) in their own private practice. The average age when starting a practice was 38.1 years. Time from medical graduation until practice establishment was 10.2 years in women and 8.3 years in men. Compared to males (58.4 %; 50 km radius), female students more often practice close to their study place (59.4 %; radius of 50 km). There were no differences between universities with respect to the output of future FPs.Conclusions: The high binding force of university locations underlines the importance of convincing medical students already during medical school of the advantages of rural areas for life and learning. Medical students from rural areas should be identified and receive special attention and motivation to pursue a career as a family physician.