Effect of a Simple Ambulatory Experience on Career Choice and Attitudes of Medical Students

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Students were allocated randomly to participate in a simple ambulatory experience during their third-year medicine clerkship. A convenience sample was surveyed by questionnaire in the fall of their fourth year, after decisions were made regarding future career plans. The questionnaire assessed medical student attitudes toward general internal medicine and career choice.Valuation of the effectiveness of the clerkship was associated with choosing a career in internal medicine (p = 0.007); having an ambulatory experience was not associated with subsequent career choice. Sixty-two percent of all students felt the clerkship affected their career choice a great deal or moderately; these students were likely to find a career in general internal medicine less attractive as a result of their clerkship (p = 0.008). When stratified, this association disappeared in those students who participated in the ambulatory experience (p = 0.39) but persisted in those who did hot (p = 0.01). A simple experience in internal medicine clinics during a third-year clerkship was not associated with subsequent career choice, but had some positive effects on attitudes toward general internal medicine as a career.

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