Why do we choose rheumatology? Implications for future recruitment--results of the 2006 UK Trainee Survey

L Dunkley, Andrew Filer, D Speden, D Bax, A Crisp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Against changes to junior doctor career structure under MMC (Modernizing Medical Careers), and uncertainty about the future place of rheumatology, we explored critical factors in choice of rheumatology as a speciality, and asked what factors might govern choices of prospective trainees. Using these data, we developed suggestions to enhance future recruitment. METHODS: A postal survey was sent to rheumatology specialist registrars (SpRs) on the Joint Committee for Higher Medical Training (JCHMT) database between December 2005 and January 2006, and concurrently by e-mail to the Rheumatologists at Training e-mail list. RESULTS: Seventy-three percent (165/227) of trainees responded. Of them, 89.1% had previous senior house officer (SHO) experience in rheumatology and 81.8% made a career decision in favour of rheumatology during their SHO post. The top four ranked factors influencing choice of rheumatology were SHO experience, subject matter, inspirational consultants and lifestyle aspects; 89.1% would still choose rheumatology now. Factors felt to be negatively influencing future trainees came under three key themes: poor student or postgraduate exposure, employment and service delivery issues (including concern over the future place of rheumatology in primary vs secondary care), and perceived poor profile of rheumatology. Factors positively influencing future candidates were subject matter, work/life balance and prior exposure to the speciality. CONCLUSIONS: Early postgraduate experience is key to choice of speciality. An overwhelming majority of trainees decide speciality during SHO experience. With ongoing changes in career structure, it is critical that rheumatology is incorporated into foundation and speciality training programmes and essential that continued measures are taken to improve the image of rheumatology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-906
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2008
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2008


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