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OBJECTIVES: To explore the impact of Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) training on the stability of medical career choices in the UK. SETTING UK PARTICIPANTS: Graduates of 2002 and 2008 from all UK medical schools, 1 and 3 years postgraduation. DESIGN: Questionnaire surveys were conducted of 2002 and 2008 graduates from all UK medical schools 1 and 3 years post graduation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Doctors gave their specialty choice(s) and rated the influence of each of 11 factors on their career choice. RESULTS: 2008 graduates were a little more likely than graduates of 2002 to retain their year 1 choice in year 3 (77.3% vs. 73.3%; p = 0.002). Among 2008 graduates, the percentage retaining their year 1 choice varied between 42% (clinical oncology) and 79% (general practice). Enthusiasm for a specialty, student experience and inclinations before medical school were associated with choice retention; consideration of domestic circumstances and hours/working conditions were associated with changes of choice. 2008 graduates were more likely than 2002s to be influenced by enthusiasm for a specialty, self-appraisal of their skills, working hours and their domestic circumstances; and less likely to be influenced by their experience of jobs, a particular teacher/department or eventual financial prospects. CONCLUSIONS: Post-MMC, graduates were less likely to change their career choice and more likely to be motivated by personal factors and self-assessment of their suitability to a particular area of work.

Original publication




Journal article


J R Soc Med

Publication Date





17 - 27


medical careers, medical education, specialty choices, work-life balance, Career Choice, Humans, Life Style, Specialization, State Medicine, United Kingdom, United Nations