Arch Hellen Med, 25(2), March-April 2008, 167-176
Criteria that affect the selection of the field of medical specialization in Greece
A. PEHLIVANIDOU,1,2 K. SOULIOTIS,2,3 M. KALAFATI,4 T. BELALI,4 J. TSAMADIAS,1 F. GIANNAKA,5 J. TOUNTAS3
OBJECTIVE In recent years, the rising number of physicians and their unequal distribution over the various geographic regions and medical specialties has grown into a major concern for health policy. The selection of the field of specialization poses one of the most critical challenges in the career choice made by medical school graduates. This study examines the validity of the criteria that, according to the literature, affect this selection, in a sample of specialist and trainee physicians in the Attica region. It forms an integral part of a wider survey of the factors that in general large affect the selection of the field of specialization by medical school graduates.
METHOD The sample consisted of 300 physicians, of whom 152 (50.7%) were specialists and 148 (49.3%) trainees, all employed in public hospitals, both general and specialist, in the Attica region. Of the total sample, 25.3% were working in the pathology department, 49.1% at the surgery, 18.3% at the laboratory and 7.3% in the psychiatry department. The data were analyzed using inferential statistics.
RESULTS Statistically significant correlations were verified between the field of specialization and the following selection criteria: (a) scientific interest (P=0.005), (b) waiting time for commencement of training (P=0.015), (c) higher remuneration (P<0.0001) and (d) higher social status (P=0.003).
CONCLUSIONS Immediate steps should be taken to ensure a more effective career planning process for medical school graduates, in order to actively prevent oversubscription of popular specialties and overcome the respectively long waiting lists for the commencement of training, which ultimately contribute to higher unemployment rates among physicians.
Key words: Medical career prospects, Medical specialties, Professional development.