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Study
July 2006

Assessment of Residents' Loss of Interest in Academic Careers and Identification of Correctable Factors

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Dermatology, Marshfield Clinic (Drs Reck, Stratman, and Vogel), and Division of Biostatistics, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (Dr Mukesh), Marshfield, Wis.

Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(7):855-858. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.7.855
Abstract

Objective  To quantify interest in an academic career at the dermatology resident and residency applicant level.

Design  Cross-sectional survey.

Participants  Dermatology residents attending a basic science course and residency applicants applying to a single residency program.

Main Outcome Measures  Self-reported level of interest in an academic dermatology career, reasons for losing interest in academics, and area of desired primary academic contribution.

Results  One hundred nine of 230 dermatology applicants and 130 of 190 dermatology residents completed the survey. Seventy-nine applicants (72.5%) and 48 residents (36.9%) were interested in an academic career. Thirty-three of 47 residents (70.2%) and 63 of 79 applicants (79.8%) interested in an academic career hoped to make their primary academic contribution as teacher-clinicians, while only 7 residents (14.9%) and 15 applicants (19.0%) planned to primarily contribute through basic or clinical research. Thirty-eight resident respondents (29.2%) reported losing interest in academics for the following primary reasons: bureaucracy, 24 (63.2%); salary differential/financial issues, 20 (52.6%); lack of effective mentorship, role model, or professional guidance, 19 (50.0%); and location or practice environment, 10 (26.3%).

Conclusions  Many residents report losing interest in pursuing a career in academic dermatology. Many reasons for this are not easy to correct. However, half of those residents primarily lose interest because of a lack of mentors, role models, and career guidance. Methods to improve this perception and experience should be sought. Strategies should also be developed to cultivate future teacher-clinicians, where most of the interest lies.

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