New research explores how experiences of medical students may affect choosing careers in general practice

New research to better understand how medical students’ perceptions of their experiences of their undergraduate curriculum may affect choosing general practice as a career has been published in the British Journal of General Practice.

The research was co-written by Dr Adrian Hastings, who worked in the Department of Medical and Social Care Education and passed away in 2013.

The study examined six focus groups. Some student participants’ career aspirations were strongly shaped by family and home, but clinical placements remained important in confirming or refuting these choices. Students’ comments revealed conflicting understandings about general practice.

The research suggests that attracting rather than coercing students to general practice is likely to be more effective at changing their career choices and that early, high-quality, ongoing and, authentic clinical exposure promotes general practice and combats negative stereotyping.

The research recommends increasing opportunities to help students understand what it means to be a ‘good GP’ and how this can be achieved are created.