BJGP Open | 2021

Medical applicant general practice experience and career aspirations: a questionnaire study



Background Increasing access to general practice work experience placements for school students is a strategy for improving general practice recruitment, despite limited evidence and concerns surrounding equity of access to general practice experiences. Aims To examine the association between undertaking general practice experience and the perceptions of general practice as an appealing future career among prospective medical applicants. To identify socioeconomic factors associated with obtaining general practice experience. Design & setting Cross-sectional questionnaire study in the UK. Method Participants were UK residents aged ≥16 years and seriously considering applying to study medicine in 2019/2020. They were invited to take part via the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). Questionnaire data were analysed using a linear regression of general practice appeal on general practice experience, adjusting for career motivations and demographics, and a logistic regression of general practice experience on measures of social capital and demographics. Results Of 6391 responders, 4031 were in their last year of school. General practice experience predicted general practice appeal after adjusting for career motivation and demographics (b = 0.37, standard error [SE] = 0.06, P<0.00001). General practice experience was more common among students at private (odds ratio [OR] = 1.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.31 to 2.08, P<0.0001) or grammar schools (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.72, P = 0.03) and in the highest socioeconomic group (OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.28 to 2.05, P<0.0001), and less likely among students of ‘other’ ethnicity (OR = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.20 to 0.67, P = 0.0011). Conclusion Having general practice experience prior to medical school was associated with finding general practice appealing, which supports its utility in recruitment. Applicants from more deprived backgrounds were less likely to have had a general practice experience, possibly through lack of accessible opportunities.

Volume 5
Pages None
DOI 10.3399/BJGPO.2021.0023
Language English
Journal BJGP Open

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