Professional Expectations of Future Doctors: Analysis of the Quadriennium 2014-2017

ABSTRACT The objective of this work is to describe the expectations of medical students regarding their professional career. In order to do this, a cross-sectional descriptive and analytical study was conducted, from January 2014 to December 2017, with 116 senior students of the class of 2014, 116 of 2015, 91 of 2016 and 110 of 2017, with a total of 431 individuals. A survey was applied to obtain information about their age, gender, graduation year, professional expectations for the 10 years to follow, intended specialty, level of care at which they want to work, intended income, the number of jobs they think they will need to work in to reach that level of income and the number of jobs they expect to have. The study showed that there are more male students (58%) than female, and the average age is 26.4 ± 3.91 years old. General Medicine was the most sought specialty by the graduate students, except for those of the year 2016, when the predominant specialty was Pediatrics. Concerning the professional goals for the 10 years after graduation, teaching was an objective of approximately half of them, ranging between 46% and 59%, while almost all of them demonstrated a wish to perform assistance work (direct patient care). No predominance was found when comparing the expectation of working in a hospital or in private clinics, nor between the private and public sector. Concerning the wish to work at different health care levels, the senior students from the classes of 2014 and 2016 expressed their wish to work predominantly at care level 3 (40.5 ± 29.3% and 41.1 ± 29.7%, respectively). Concerning the intended income, the most popular range was above 10 minimum monthly salaries. Most students stated they believe that at least three jobs would be necessary to reach this salary level, but they also expressed the wish of having only two jobs. We conclude that the so-called basic areas, such as General Medicine, General Surgery and Pediatrics are the most coveted by the senior students. However, this is probably due not only to a desire to follow these specialties, but also because they represent a prerequisite to access other specialties. In general, the graduates intend to work with direct care and have high salary expectations, which is only achieved by having multiple jobs. They have little interest in working at care level one. This reality could be discussed in academic circles, in order to offer realistic information to students about the job market and medical career, minimizing future frustrations during their professional practice.