US medical students opt for better life not better pay
An increasing number of US medical students are picking their specialty on the basis of assumptions about the lifestyle that it would permit--including more time for family and leisure activities--rather than traditional factors such as pay and prestige.
The finding suggests there might be shortages of doctors in specialties such as surgery and obstetrics as medical students shun fields in which they are required to be on call during many off duty hours (JAMA 2003;290:1173-8).
Researchers collected six years of data, from 1996 to 2002.
They classified 16 specialties as having either a controllable or uncontrollable lifestyle, partly on the basis of the number of hours that doctors were required to be on call or to spend in the hospital.
For each of the selected specialties, the investigators counted the number of students ranking a particular specialty as his or her first choice.
From 1996 to 2002 the percentage of