What influences young doctors in their decision-making about general practice as a possible career? A qualitative study

Michael Harris* (Corresponding Author), David Wainwright, E Wainwright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background:- Recruitment to General Practitioner (GP) training programmes in the United Kingdom is poor. Colleagues? negative comments about general practice could contribute to this. Aim:- To investigate what influences Foundation Year 2 (FY2) doctors in their decisions to choose general practice as a career, and how colleagues? comments about GPs might affect those decisions. Design and Setting:- A qualitative study in Southwest England. Method:- Thematic analysis of interviews with FY2 doctors. Results : Twenty-four doctors participated. They thought that GPs worked hard and had very varied clinical work. The effect on their career choice depended on their personalities. GP placement experiences significantly influenced their career intentions. The loneliness of working in general practice was a key concern. FY2 doctors thought colleagues? criticisms of GPs did not reflect reality and were outdated. ?Banter? had little effect on career choices. Whichever specialty they were choosing, FY2s experienced support from colleagues in their career choices. Conclusion:- Person-specialty fit and FY2 doctors? experiences of GP work have a significant effect on career choices. Loneliness in their GP work placements is a particular problem that should be addressed. While colleagues? derogatory comments about GPs may affect medical students? views on their career choices, they appear to have little effect on the career decision-making of qualified doctors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalEducation for Primary Care
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank the Foundation doctors that were interviewed, and the Severn Foundation School team who generously agreed to forward our invitation email to their doctors.

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request, but to avoid the risk that individuals could be identified by their colleagues, they are not publicly available.


  • General Practice
  • career choice
  • job satisfaction


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