Reaching Our Successors: Millennial Generation Medical Students and Plastic Surgery as a Career Choice
Background: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.
Keywords: Career, medical students, millennial generation, plastic surgery, residency