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      Reaching Our Successors: Millennial Generation Medical Students and Plastic Surgery as a Career Choice


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          Research shows that career choices are made as a result of preconceived ideas and exposure to a specialty. If plastic surgery is to continue to attract the best, factors that may dissuade the millennial generation medical students from pursuing plastic surgery as a career must be identified and addressed. We explored the determinants of interest in plastic surgery as a career choice amongst millennial generation medical students.

          Materials and Methods:

          A survey regarding factors considered important in choosing plastic surgery was conducted amongst final year medical students in September 2011. Participants were asked to rate their agreement or disagreement with 18 statements on a four-point Likert scale (1 = very unimportant; 4 = very important). Statistical analyses were performed using Chi-square test to compare categorical variables between male and female medical students. Values of P < 0.05 were considered significant.


          The most important factors influencing the decision of medical students to choose plastic surgery as a career include; plastic surgeons appear happy in their work 93 (85%), Plastic surgeons have rewarding careers 78 (71%), and plastic surgeons provide good role models for medical students 96 (87%). An overall score of > 3.0 was seen in all the subscales except in gender equity and life style concerns. There were statistically significant differences between male and female students in opinions of a spouse, a significant other, or family members in choosing plastic surgery P < 0.5 and my choice of plastic surgery will be influenced by my decision to have a family P < 0.5.


          Factors influencing the decision of medical students to choose plastic surgery were related to the perceived quality of life as a plastic surgeon and the ability of plastic surgeons to provide good role models for medical students. Female medical students were more concerned with gender equity and work-life balance in selecting plastic surgery compared to male medical students.

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          Most cited references20

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          Influences on medical student career choice: gender or generation?

          We hypothesized that increased enrollment of female medical students and different priorities of the current generation of students would be important influences on the declining interest in surgical careers. Students scored statements on surgical careers on 5-point Likert scales regarding agreement and whether these statements encouraged them to pursue a career in surgery. Data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test. Qualitative comments were iteratively coded using a constant comparative method. Nine US medical schools. A Web-based survey on the Association for Surgical Education server was e-mailed to medical students. A total of 1300 of the 1365 respondents stated their sex. The survey asked questions pertaining to surgical life, surgical residency, surgeons as influence, equity, family, and other influences. A total of 680 (52%) of the 1300 respondents were male. Men and women disagreed about whether surgeons lead well-balanced lives (68% and 77%, respectively) and saw this as a deterrent. A total of 35% of women (3% men; P<.001) were discouraged by a lack of female role models. Compared with students unlikely to study surgery, lower percentages of male (74% vs 65%) and female students (85% vs 58%) likely to study surgery agreed that career choice was influenced by their decision to have a family (P=.01 for men, P<.001 for women). Of medical students who agreed that their skill sets were compatible with surgical careers, similar percentages were likely (30% men vs 24% women) and unlikely (49% men vs 54% women) to study surgery. All differences between men and women were less apparent when students likely to study surgery were compared with students unlikely to study surgery. The decision to have a family was a more significant influence for women than men, but family and lifestyle priorities were also important to male students, supporting our hypothesis that generation and gender are both important influences on career choices.
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            What influences medical students' choice of surgical careers.

            Recent emphasis in medical education has been to encourage students to pursue primary care careers. This could have a negative impact on applications to surgical residencies. To determine what factors are most influential for a student to pursue a surgical career in spite of this environment, third- and fourth-year medical students were surveyed with a 40-item questionnaire. The response rate was 37% (76/205). Those students considering a career in surgery were more likely than their counterparts to be motivated by role models (P <.006), career opportunities (P <.006), and academic opportunities (P <.013) in surgery. They were less likely than their counterparts to be discouraged from surgery on the basis of lifestyle (P <.001), time commitment (P <.001), call schedules (P <.001), or residency length (P <.028). No differences regarding financial rewards, research opportunities, or intellectual challenges were seen between the groups. Neither race nor sex had a significant role in the selection of surgery as a career. The data suggests that students are more likely to be influenced to pursue surgical careers by offering early exposure to positive role models and career and academic opportunities in surgery. Knowledge of these influences on student career choices should help surgical educators attract and maintain student interest in surgical careers.
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              Perceptions of women medical students and their influence on career choice.

              Although women make up nearly half of medical school classes in the United States, just over 20% of residents in surgery are women (excluding obstetrics/gynecology). The objective of this study was to identify whether the proportion of women surgeons on the faculty who have frequent encounters with medical students during their surgery rotation influences the student's perceptions about women surgeons or their career choice. Seven US medical schools with proportions of women surgeons on the fulltime faculty varying from 10% to 40% were selected to participate in this survey. Women medical students graduating in the spring of 2000 were asked to complete an anonymous 29 question survey designed to assess their perceptions of women surgeons' career satisfaction. Demographic information about the students such as career choice, age, and marital status was also collected. The differences in responses between those schools with 40% women faculty and those with less than 15% were analyzed. The overall response rate was 74% (305 of 413). Forty-five percent of students had daily or weekly contact with a woman surgery attending. There were no differences in perceptions of women surgeons' career satisfaction for those students at schools with 40% women surgeons versus those with less than 15%. However, 21 of 24 (88%) students choosing surgery as a career were from the three schools with a greater number of women surgical role models (P <0.0001). Students who chose a career in surgery perceived the women faculty's career satisfaction to be higher than did those students not choosing a surgical career (P <0.01). Women medical students perception of women surgeons' career satisfaction did not appear to be affected by the proportion of women surgeons on the faculty at their medical school. However, their choice of surgery as a career was strongly associated with a higher proportion of women on the surgical faculty.

                Author and article information

                Niger J Surg
                Niger J Surg
                Nigerian Journal of Surgery : Official Publication of the Nigerian Surgical Research Society
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                Jan-Jun 2016
                : 22
                : 1
                : 12-16
                [1] Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Dr. Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. E-mail: shidoibrahim@ 123456yahoo.com
                Copyright: © Nigerian Journal of Surgery

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

                Original Article

                career,medical students,millennial generation,plastic surgery,residency


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