Career changes among Saskatchewan physicians

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ObjectiveTo determine how often Saskatchewan physicians changed career paths during medical training and practice.DesignPopulation survey (mailed questionnaire).SettingSaskatchewan.ParticipantsAll 1077 active members of the Saskatchewan Medical Association were sent a questionnaire; 493 (45.8 percent) responded.Outcome measuresLong-term career goal or plan in next-to-last year of undergraduate medical school, probable choice of career if forced to choose at that time, and number of physicians who changed their field of training or practice at any time since graduation.ResultsIn all, 57.8 percent (237/410) of the respondents were currently practising in a field different from that planned in their next-to-last year of medical school, 63.1 percent (275/436) were not practising in the field they would have chosen if forced to at the time, and 42.9 percent (211/492) had changed their field of training or practice at some time since graduation. Older physicians, those who graduated outside of Canada and specialists were the most likely to have changed career paths, family physicians and those who graduated in Saskatchewan were the least likely to have changed.ConclusionThe current system of postgraduate training in Canada does not permit career changes of the sort made by most of the practising Saskatchewan physicians in the survey sample. The implications of this new system are as yet unknown but require careful monitoring.

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