In a previous blog, I discussed some of the issues facing primary care. Specifically, I have pointed out that medical students simply do not want to go into primary care as a career. I even facetiously [although some thought I was serious] suggested that the way to lure students into primary care was to notprovide them with clerkship experience.
In the January 2012 issue of the journal Family Medicine [full text available here], a survey of medical students’ attitudes toward primary care and specialties reveals some sobering information about primary care and the overall practice of medicine.
At three medical schools, Michigan, Michigan State and Brown, 1533 students were sent surveys during the years 2006-2008, with 983 [64 percent] responding, an excellent rate of return for a survey. My theory about exposure to primary care may be wrong because third and fourth year students were significantly more inclined to choose primary care as a career than first or second year students. But the overall percentage of students who said they would opt for primary care was only 14.8 percent. This is consistent with matching program data, which indicate that 14 percent of US medical graduates match in primary care.