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Abstract Details

Why Neurology (or Not)? Understanding Career Decision-Making of First-Year Medical Students
Research Methodology, Education, and History
P6 - Poster Session 6 (12:00 PM-1:00 PM)
13-008
The growing shortage of neurologists is in part due to suboptimal recruitment. Knowledge of students’ perceptions underlying decisions about neurology, particularly early in training, is limited. 
To understand factors that influence first-year medical students’ thoughts about neurology.

We conducted 1-on-1 semi-structured interviews with 15 M1 students (10 female, 5 male) at 1 institution before the pre-clinical neurology course (October 2018-January 2019) and after (June 2019). In the first interview, we asked about career intentions, factors likely to influence specialty choice, and perceptions of neurology with respect to those factors. In the second interview, we asked about changes in students’ views over the M1 year. In our inductive analysis, we generated codes and then clustered coded data into themes. 

Students initially classified themselves as neurology-inclined (2), neurology-neutral (9), or neurology-disinclined (4); 1 neurology-inclined and 1 neurology-disinclined student shifted to neurology-neutral between interviews. The most prominent factors influencing specialty choice were lifestyle and personal interest. Students generally equated lifestyle with time for family, and considered income less important.  The majority (9/14) correlated lifestyle with whether a specialty was surgical; none expressed concerns about lifestyle in neurology. Personality of the specialty was important to some, describing neurologists as “fun, quirky people,” “armchair intellectuals,” or “boring.”  Half saw inability to “fix” or “cure” the problem as a downside to neurology. Other important factors included research, relationships with patients, patient population, and performing procedures. The impact of the pre-clinical neurology course was unclear: most students reported positive or increased personal interest in neurology, but also described class-wide burnout by the second half of the year, accentuated by the neurology course difficulty and short duration. 
M1 students emphasize lifestyle and personal interest when contemplating career paths. These results could inform efforts to attract students to neurology.
Authors/Disclosures
Rachel J. Gottlieb-Smith, MD, MHPE (University of Michigan, Division of Pediatric Neurology)
PRESENTER
Dr. Gottlieb-Smith has received personal compensation in the range of $500-$4,999 for serving as a Resident In-Training Examination Panel Member with American Academy of Neurology.
Dorene Balmer No disclosure on file
Douglas J. Gelb, MD, PhD, FAAN (University of Michigan-Dept of Neurology) Dr. Gelb has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care. Dr. Gelb has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care. Dr. Gelb has received publishing royalties from a publication relating to health care. Dr. Gelb has received personal compensation in the range of $500-$4,999 for serving as a multiple choice question writer for Continuum with AAN.